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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



THE LIFE OF LUD\MG VAN BEETHOVEN 

VOLUME I 



The Life of 

Ludwig van Beethoven 

By Alexander Wheelock Thayer 

Edited, revised and amended from the original 
English manuscript and the German editions 
of Hermann Deiters and Hugo Riemann, con- 
cluded, and all the documents newly translated 

By 

Henry Edward Krehbiel 



Volume I 



Published by 

The Beethoven Association 
New York 



SECOND PRINTING 



Copyright, 1921, 
By Henry Edward Krehbiel 



From the press of G. Schirmer, Inc., New York 
Printed in the U. S. A. 



Music 
Library 



c 



IN PROFOUND REVERENCE THIS WORK 
IS DEDICATED BY THE EDITOR 

To THE Memory of 

^exanber SiOljeelocfe ^fjaper anti l^r. I^ermann JSeiterjf 

ALSO IN GRATEFUL APPRECIATION 
TO 

THE BEETHOVEN ASSOCIATION 

AND WITH A Lu\RGE MEASURE OF GRATITUDE AND AFFECTION 
TO HIS FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE 

RICHARD ALDRICH 



raiVERS/Ty OF CALIFORNIA 
LOS ANGELES 



. r^ jr> r> 



Introduction 



IF for no other reasons than because of the long time and 
monumental patience expended upon its preparation, the 

vicissitudes through which it has passed and the varied and 
arduous labors bestowed upon it by the author and his editors, 
the history of Alexander Wheelock Thayer's Life of Beethoven 
deserves to be set forth as an introduction to this work. His 
work it is, and his monument, though others have labored long 
and painstakingly upon it. There has been no considerable time 
since the middle of the last century when it has not occupied the 
minds of the author and those who have been associated with 
him in its creation. Between the conception of its plan and its 
execution there lies a period of more than two generations. Four 
men have labored zealously and affectionately upon its pages, and 
the fruits of more than four score men, stimulated to investigation 
by the first rev^elations made by the author, have been conserved 
in the ultimate form of the biography. It was seventeen years 
after Mr. Thayer entered upon what proved to be his life-task 
before he gave the first volume to the world — and then in a foreign 
tongue; it was thirteen more before the third volume came from 
the press. This volume, moreover, left the work unfinished, and 
thirty-two years more had to elapse before it was com])leted. 
When this was done the patient and self-sacrificing investigator 
was dead; he did not live to finish it himself nor to see it finished 
by his faithful c()lial)orator of many years, Dr. Deiters; neither 
did he live to look upon a single printed page in the language in 
which he had written that portion of the work published in his 
lifetime. It was left for another hand to prepare the English 
edition of an American writer's history of Germany's greatest 
tone-poet, and to write its concluding chapters, as he believes, 
in the spirit of the original author. 

Under these circumstances there can be no vainglory in as- 
serting that the appearance of this edition of Thayer's Life of 
Beethoven deserves to be set down as a significant occurrence 

[vii] 



viii The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

in musical history. In it is told for the first time in the language 
of the great biographer the true story of the man Beethoven — 
his history stripped of the silly sentimental romance with which 
early writers and their later imitators and copyists invested it so 
thickly that the real humanity, the humanliness, of the composer 
has never been presented to the world. In this biography there 
appears the veritable Beethoven set down in his true environ- 
ment of men and things — the man as he actually was, the man as 
he himself, like Cromwell, asked to be shown for the information 
of posterity. It is doubtful if any other great man's history 
has been so encrusted with fiction as Beethoven's. Except 
Thayer's, no biography of him has been written which presents 
him in his true light. The majority of the books which have 
been written of late years repeat many of the errors and false- 
hoods made current in the first books which were written about 
him. A great many of these errors and falsehoods are in the 
account of the composer's last sickness and death, and were either 
inventions or exaggerations designed by their utterers to add 
pathos to a narrative which in unadorned truth is a hundred- 
fold more pathetic than any tale of fiction could possibly be. 
Other errors have concealed the truth in the story of Beethoven's 
guardianship of his nephew, his relations with his brothers, the 
origin and nature of his fatal illness, his dealings with his pub- 
lishers and patrons, the generous attempt of the Philharmonic 
Society of Ix)ndon to extend help to hira when upon his deathbed. 
In many details the story of Beethoven's life as told here 
will be new to English and American readers; in a few cases the 
details will be new to the world, for the English edition of Thayer's 
biography is not a translation of the German work but a presen- 
tation of the original manuscript, so far as the discoveries made 
after the writing did not mar its integrity, supplemented by the 
knowledge acquired since the publication of the first German 
edition, and placed at the service of the present editor by the 
German revisers of the second edition. The editor of this English 
edition was not only in communication with Mr. Thayer during 
the last ten years of his life, but was also associated to some ex- 
tent with his continuator and translator, Dr. Deiters. Not only 
the fruits of the labors of the German editors but the original manu- 
script of Thayer and the mass of material which he accumulated 
came into the hands of this writer, and they form the foundation 
on which the English "Thayer's Beethoven" rests. The work 
is a vastly different one from that which Thayer dreamed of when 
he first conceived the idea of bringing order and consistency into 



Introduction ix 

the fragmentary and highly colored accounts of the composer's 
hfe upon which he fed his mind and fancy as a student at 
college; but it is, even in that part of the story which he did not 
write, true to the conception of what Beethoven's biography 
should be. Knowledge of the composer's life has greatly in- 
creased since the time when Thayer set out upon his task. The 
first publication of some of the results of his investigations in 
his "Chronologisches Verzeichniss" in 1865, and the first volume 
of the biography which appeared a year later, stirred the critical 
historians into activity throughout Europe. For them he had 
opened up a hundred avenues of research, pointed out a hundred 
subjects for special study. At once collectors of autographs 
brought forth their treasures, old men opened up the books of 
their memories, librarians gave eager searchers access to their 
shelves, churches produced their archives, and hieroglj'phic 
sketches wliich had been scattered all over Europe were deciphered 
by scholars and yielded up chronological information of inesti- 
mable value. To all these activities Thayer had pointed the way, 
and thus a great mass of facts was added to the already great 
mass which Thayer had accumulated. Nor did Thayer's labors 
in the field end with the first publication of his volumes. So long 
as he lived he gathered, ordered and sifted the new material 
which came under his observation and prepared it for incorpora- 
tion into later editions and later volumes. After he was dead 
his editors continued the work. 

Alexander Wheelock Thayer was born in South Natick, 
Massachusetts, on October 22nd, 1817, and received a liberal 
education at Harvard College, whence he was graduated in 1843. 
He probably felt that he was cut out for a literary career, for his 
first work after graduation was done in the library of his Alma 
Mater. There interest in the life of Beethoven took hold of him. 
With the plan in his mind of writing an account of that life on 
the basis of Schindler's biograj)hy as paraplirased by Moscheles, 
and bringing its statements and those contained in the "Biogra- 
phische Notizen" of Wegeler and Ilies and a few English accounts 
into harmony, he went to Europe in 1849 and spent two years 
in making researches in Bonn, Berlin, Pnigue and Vienna. He 
then returned to America and in 1852 became attached to the 
editorial stuff of "The New York Tribune." It was in a double 
sense an attachment; illness comi)elIed him to abandon journalism 
and sever his connection with the newspaper within two years, 
but he never gave up his interest in it. He read it until the day 
of his death, and his acquaintance with the member of the Tribune's 



X The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

staff who was destined to have a part in the completion of his 
hfework began when, a little more than a generation after he 
had gone to Europe for the second time, he opened a correspond- 
ence with him on a topic suggested by one of this writer's criti- 
cisms. In 1854 he went to Europe again, still fired with the ambi- 
tion to rid the life-history of Beethoven of the defects which 
marred it as told in the current books. Schindler had sold the 
memorabilia which he had received from Beethoven and Beet- 
hoven's friend Stephan von Breuning to the Prussian Govern- 
ment, and the precious documents were safely housed in the 
Royal Library at Berlin. It was probably in studying them 
that Thayer realized fully that it was necessary to do more than 
rectify and harmonize current accounts of Beethoven's life if it 
were correctly to be told. He had already unearthed much 
precious ore at Bonn, but he lacked the money which alone would 
enable him to do the long and large work which now loomed before 
him. In 1856 he again came back to America and sought em- 
ployment, finding it this time in South Orange, New Jersey, 
where Lowell Mason employed him to catalogue his musical 
library. Meanwhile Dr. Mason had become interested in his 
great project, and Mrs. Mehetabel Adams, of Cambridge, Mas- 
sachusetts, also. Together they provided the funds which enabled 
him again to go to Europe, where he now took up a permanent 
residence. At first he spent his time in research-travels, visiting 
Berlin, Bonn, Cologne, Dlisseldorf (where he found material of 
great value in the archives of the old Electoral Courts of Bonn 
and Cologne), Frankfort, Paris, Linz, Graz, Salzburg, London 
and Vienna. To support himself he took a small post in the 
Legation of the United States at Vienna, but exchanged this 
after a space for the U. S. Consulship at Trieste, to which office 
he was appointed by President Lincoln on the recommendation 
of Senator Sumner. In Trieste he remained till his death, al- 
though out of office after October 1st, 1882. To Sir George 
Grove he wrote under date June 1st, 1895: 'T was compelled to 
resign my office because of utter inaVjility longer to continue 
Beethoven work and official labor together." From Trieste, 
when his duties permitted, he went out on occasional exploring 
tours, and there he weighed his accumulations of evidence and 
wrote his volumes. 

In his travels Thayer visited every person of importance 
then living who had been in any way associated with Beethoven 
or had personal recollection of him — Schindler, the composer's 
factotum and biographer; Anselm Hiittenbrenner, in whose arms 



Introduction xi 

he died; Caroline van Beethoven, w^dow of Nephew Karl; Charles 
Neate and Cipriani Potter, the English musicians who had been 
his pupils; Sir George Smart, who had visited him to learn the 
proper interpretation of the Ninth Symphony; Moscheles, who 
had been a professional associate in Vienna; Otto Jahn, who had 
undertaken a like task with his own, but abandoned it and turned 
over his gathered material to him; Mahler, an artist who had 
painted Beethoven's portrait; Gerhard von Breuning, son of 
Beethoven's most intimate friend, who as a lad of fourteen had 
been a cheery companion of the great man when he lay upon his 
fatal bed of sickness; — with all these and many others he talked, 
carefully recording their testimony in his note-books and piling 
up information with which to test the correctness of traditions 
and printed accounts and to amplify the veracious story of Beet- 
hoven's life. His industry, zeal, keen power of analysis, candor 
and fairmindedness won the confidence and help of all with whom 
he came in contact except the literary charlatans whose romances 
he was bent on destroying in the interest of the verities of histo^3^ 
The Royal Library at Berlin sent the books in which many of 
Beethoven's visitors had written down their part of the conver- 
sations which the composer could not hear, to him at Trieste so 
that he might transcribe and study them at his leisure. 

In 1865, Thayer was ready with the manuscript for Volume I 
of the work, which contained a sketch of the Courts of the Electors 
of Cologne at Cologne and Bonn for over a century, told of the 
music cultivated at them and recorded the ancestry of Beethoven 
so far as it had been discovered. It also carried the history of 
the composer down to the year 1796. In Bonn, Thayer had made 
the acquaintance of Dr. Hermann Deiters, Court Councillor and 
enthusiastic musical litterateur, and to him he confided the task 
of editing and revising his manuscript and translating it into 
German. Tlie reason which Thayer gave for not at once publish- 
ing his work in Engiisli was that he was unable to oversee the 
printing in liis native land, where, moreover, it was not the custom 
to publish such works serially. He urged upon his collaborator 
that he practise literalness of translation in respect of his own 
utterances, but gave him full liberty to proceed according to his 
judgment in the presentation of documentary evidence. All 
of the material in tlie volume except the draughts from Wegeler, 
Ries and Schindler, with which he was frequently in conflict, 
was original discovery, the result of the labors begun in Bonn in 
1849. His principles he set forth in these words: "I fight for no 
theories, and cherish no prejudices; my sole point of view is the 



xii The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

truth I have resisted the temptation to discuss the 

cliaracter of his (Beethoven's) works and to make such a discussion 
the foundation of historical speculation, preferring to leave such 
matters to those who have a greater predilection for them. It 
appears to me that Beethoven the composer is amply known 
through his works and in this assumption the long and wearisome 
labors of so many years were devoted to Beethoven the man." 
The plan to publish his work in German enabled Thayer to turn 
over all his documentary evidence to Deiters in its original shape, 
a circumstance which saved him great labor, but left it for his 
American editor and continuator. The first German volume 
appeared in 1866; its stimulative effect upon musical Europe has 
been indicated. Volume II came from the press in 1872, Volume 
III in 1879, both translated and annotated by Deiters. They 
brought the story of Beethoven's life down to the end of the 
year 1816, leaving a little more than a decade still to be discussed. 
The health of Thayer had never been robust, and the long 
and unintermittent application to the work of gathering and 
weighing evidence had greatly taxed his brain. He became sub- 
ject to severe headaches and after the appearance of the third 
volume he found it impossible to apply himself for even a short 
time to work upon the biography. In July, 1890, he wrote a 
letter to Sir George Grove which the latter forwarded to this 
writer. In it he tells in words of pathetic gratitude of the unex- 
pected honors showered upon him at Bonn when at the invitation 
of the Beethoven-Haus Verein he attended the exhibition and 
festival given in Beethoven's birthplace a short time before. 
Then he proceeds: "Of course the great question was on the lips 
of all: When will the fourth volume appear .^^ I could only say: 
^yhen the condition of my head allows it. No one could see or 
have from my general appearance the least suspicion that I was 
not in mental equal to my physical vigor. In fact, the extreme 
excitement of these three weeks took off for the time twenty years 
of my age and made me young again; but afterwards in Hamburg 
and in Berlin the reaction came. Spite of the delightful musical 
parties at Joachim's, Hausmann's, Mendelssohn's .... my 
head broke down more and more, and since my return hither, 
July 3rd, has as yet shown small signs of recuperation. The 
extreme importance of working out my fourth volume is more 
than ever impressed upon my mind and weighs upon me like an 
incubus. But as yet it is still utterly impossible for me to really 
work. Of course I only live for that great purpose and do not 
despair. My general health is such that I think the brain must 



Introduction xiii 

in time recover something of its vigor and power of labor. What 
astonishes me and almost creates envy is to see this wonderful 
power of labor as exemplified bj' you and my neighbor. Burton. 
But from boyhood I have had head troubles, and what I went 
through with for thirty years in supporting myself and working 
on Beethoven is not to be described and excites my wonder that 
I did not succumb. Well, I will not yet despair." Thayer's 
mind, active enough in some things, refused to occupy itself with 
the Beethoven material; it needed distraction, and to give it that 
he turned to literary work of another character. He wrote a book 
against the Baconian authorship of Shakespeare's works; another 
on the Hebrews in Egypt and their Exodus (which Mr. E. S. 
Willcox, a friend of many years, published at his request in Peoria, 
Illinois). He also wrote essays and children's tales. Such 
writing he could do and also attend to his consular duties; but an 
hour or two of thought devoted to Beethoven, as he said in a 
letter to the present writer, brought on a racking headache and 
unfitted him for labor of any kind. 

Meanwhile year after year passed by and the final volume of 
the biography was no nearer its completion than in 1880. In fact, 
})eyond the selection and ordination of its material, it was scarcely 
begun. His friends and the lovers of Beethoven the world over 
grew seriously concerned at the prospect that it would never be 
completed. Sharing in this concern, the editor of the present 
edition developed a plan which he thought would enable Thayer 
to complete the work notwithstanding the disabilities under 
which Jie was laboring. He asked the cooperation of Novello, 
Ewer & Co., of London, and got them to promise to send a cap- 
able person to Trieste to act as a sort of literary secretary to 
Thayer. It was thought that, having all the material for the con- 
cluding volume on hand chronologically arranged, he might talk 
it over with the secretary, but without giving care to the manner 
of literary presentation. The secretary was then to give the 
material a proper setting and submit it to Thayer for leisurely 
revision. Very hopefully, and with feelings of deep gratitude to 
his friends, the English publishers, tlie American editor submitted 
his j)lan; but Thayer would have none of it. Though unable to 
work ui)on the biography for an hour continuously, he yet clung 
to the notion that some day he would not only finish it but also 
rewrite the whole for English and American readers. From one 
of the letters placed at my disposal })y Sir George Grove, it appears 
that subsequently (in 1892) there was some correspondence be- 
tween an English publisher and Mr. Thayer touching an English 



xiv The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

edition. The letter was written to Sir George on June 1st, 1895. 
In it he says: "I then hoped to be able to revise and prepare it 
(the Beethoven MS.) for pubhcation myself, and was able to begin 
the labor and arrange with a typewriting woman to make the 
clean copy. How sadly I failed I wrote you. Since that time 
the subject has not been renewed between us. I am now com- 
pelled to rehnquish all hope of ever being able to do the work. 
There are two great difficulties to be overcome: the one is that 
all letters and citations are in the original German as they were 
sent to Dr. Deiters; the other, there is much to be condensed, as 
I always intended should be for this reason: From the very first 
chapter to the end of Vol. Ill, I am continually in conflict with 
all previous writers and was compelled, therefore, to show in my 
text that I was right by so using my materials that the reader 
should be taken along step by step and compelled to see the truth 
for himself. Had all my arguments been given in notes nine 
readers out of ten would hardly have read them, and I should have 
been involved in numberless and endless controversies. Now 
the case is changed. A. W. T's novelties are now, with few if 
any exceptions, accepted as facts and can, in the English edition, 
be used as such. Besides this, there is much new matter to be 
inserted and some corrections to be made from the appendices 
of the three German volumes. The prospect now is that I may 
be able to do some of this work, or, at all events, go through my 
MS. page by page and do much to facilitate its preparation for 
publication in English. I have no expectation of ever receiving 
any pecuniary recompense for my 40 years of labor, for my many 
years of poverty arising from the costs of my extensive researches, 
for my — but enough of this also." In explanation of the final 
sentence in this letter it may be added that Thayer told the present 
writer that he had never received a penny from his publisher for 
the three German volumes; nothing more, in fact, than a few 
books which he had ordered and for which the publisher made no 
charge. 

Thus matters rested when Thayer died on July 15th, 1897. 
The thought that the fruits of his labor and great sacrifices should 
be lost to the world even in part was intolerable. Dr. Deiters, 
with undiminished zeal and enthusiasm, announced his willing- 
ness to revise the three published volumes for a second edition 
and write the concluding volume. Meanwhile all of Thayer's 
papers had been sent to Mrs. Jabez Fox of Cambridge, Massachu- 
setts, the author's niece and one of his heirs. There was a large 
mass of material, and it became necessary to sift it in order that 



Introduction xv 

all that was needful for the work of revision and completion might 
be placed in the hands of Dr. Deiters. This work was done, at 
Mrs. Fox's request, by the present writer, who, also at Mrs. Fox's 
request, undertook the task of preparing this English edition. 
Dr. Deiters accomplished the work of revising Volume I, which 
was published by Weber, the original publisher of the German 
volumes, in 1891. He then decided that before taking up the 
revision of Volumes II and III he would bring the biography to a 
conclusion. He wrote, not the one volume which Thayer had 
hoped would suffice him, but two volumes, the mass of material 
bearing on the last decade of Beethoven's life having grown so 
large that it could not conveniently be comprehended in a single 
tome, especially since Dr. Deiters had determined to incorporate 
critical discussions of the composer's principal works in the new 
edition. The advance sheets of Volume IV were in Dr. Deiters's 
hands when, full of 3'ears and honors, he died on May 1st, 1907. 
Breitkopf and Hartel had meanwhile purchased the German 
copyright from Weber, and they chose Dr. Hugo Riemann to 
complete the work of revision. Under Dr. Riemann's supervision 
Volumes IV and V were brought out in 1908, and Volumes II and 
III in 1910-1911. 

Not until this had been accomplished could the American 
collaborator go systematically to work on his difficult and volumi- 
nous task, for he had determined to use as much as possible of 
Thayer's original manuscript and adhere to Thayer's original 
purpose and that expressed in his letter to Sir George Grove. He 
also thought it wise to condense the work so as to bring it within 
three volumes and to seek to enhance its readableness in other ways. 
To this end he abolished the many appendices which swell the 
Gennan volumes, and put their significant portions into the body 
of the narrative; he omitted many of the hundreds of foot-notes, 
especially the references to the works of the earlier biographers, 
believing that the special student would easily find the sources 
if he wished to do so, and the general reader would not care to 
verify the statements of one who has been accej)ted as the court of 
last resort in all matters of fact pertaining to Beethoven, the man; 
he also omitted many letters and presented the substance of others 
in his own words for the reason that they can all l)e consulted in the 
special volumes which contain the composer's correspondence; of 
the letters and other documents used in the pages which follow, 
he made translations for the sake of accuracy as well as to avoid 
conflict with the copyright privileges of the publishers of English 
versions. Being as free as the German editors in respect of the 



xvi The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

portion of the biography which did not come directly from the 
pen of Thayer, the editor of this EngHsh edition chose his own 
method of presentation touching the story of the last decade of 
Beethoven's life, keeping in view the greater clearness and rapidity 
of narrative which, he believed, would result from a grouping 
of material different from that followed by the German editors in 
their adherence to the strict chronological method established by 
Thayer. 

A large number of variations from the text of the original 
German edition are explained in the body of this work or in foot- 
notes. In cases where the German editors were found to be in 
disagreement with the English manuscript in matters of opinion 
merely, the editor has chosen to let Mr. Thayer's arguments stand, 
though, as a rule, he has noted the adverse opinions of the German 
revisers also. A prominent instance of this kind is presented by 
the mysterious love-letter found secreted in Beethoven's desk 
after his death. Though a considerable literature has grown up 
around the "Immortal Beloved" since Thayer advanced the hy- 
pothesis that the lady was the Countess Therese Brunswick, the 
question touching her identity and the dates of the letters is 
still as much an open one as it was when Thayer, in his charac- 
teristic manner, subjected it to examination. This editor has, 
therefore, permitted Thayer not only to present his case in his 
own words, but helped him by bringing his scattered pleadings 
and briefs into sequence. He has also outlined in part the dis- 
cussion which followed the promulgation of Thayer's theory, and 
advanced a few fugitive reflections of his own. The related inci- 
dent of Beethoven's vain matrimonial project has been put into 
a different category by new evidence which came to light while 
Dr. Riemann was engaged in his revisory work. It became neces- 
sary, therefore, that the date of that incident be changed from 
1807, where Thayer had put it, to 1810. By this important 
change Beethoven's relations to Therese Malfatti were made to 
take on a more serious attitude than Thayer was willing to accord 
them. 

In this edition, finally, more importance is attached to the 
so-called Fischer Manuscript than Thayer was inclined to give it, 
although he, somewhat grudgingly we fear, consented that Dr. 
Deiters should print it with critical comments in the Appendix of 
his Vol. I. The manuscript, though known to Thayer, had come to 
the attention of Dr. Deiters too late for use in the narrative por- 
tion of the volume, though it was thus used in the second edition. 
The story of the manuscript, which is now preserved in the museum 



Introduction xvii 

of the Beethoven-Haus Verein in Bonn, is a curious one. Its author 
was Gottfried Fischer, whose ancestors for four generations had 
lived in the house in the Rheingasse which only a few years ago 
was still, though mendaciously, pointed out to strangers as the 
house in which Beethoven was born. Fischer, who lived till 
1864, was born in the house which formerly stood on the site of 
the present building known as No. 934, ten years after Beethoven's 
eyes opened to the light in the Bonngasse. At the time of Fischer's 
birth the Beethoven family occupied a portion of the house and 
Fischer's father and the composer's father were friends and com- 
panions. There, too, had lived the composer's grandfather. Gott- 
fried Fischer had a sister, Cacilia Fischer, who was born eight 
years before Beethoven; she remained unmarried and lived to be 
85 years old, dying on May 23rd, 1845. The festivities attending 
the unveiling of the Beethoven monument in 1838 brought many 
visitors to Bonn and a natural curiosity concerning the relics of 
the composer. Inquirers were referred to the house in the Rhein- 
gasse, then supposed to be the birthplace of the composer, where 
the Fischers, brother and sister, still lived. They told their story 
and were urged by eager listeners to put it into writing. This Gott- 
fried did the same year, but, keeping the manuscript in hand, he 
added to it at intervals down to the year 1857 at least. He came to 
attach great value to his revelations and as time went on embel- 
lished his recital with a mass of notes, many of no value, many 
consisting of iterations and reiterations of incidents already re- 
corded, and also with excerpts from books to which, in his sim- 
plicity, he thought that nobody but himself had access. He was 
an uneducated man, ignorant even of the correct use of the German 
language; it is, therefore, not surprising that much of his record is 
utterly worthless; but mixed with the dross there is much precious 
metal, especially in the spinster's recollection of the composer's 
father and grandfather, for while Gottfried grew senile his sister 
remained mentally vigorous to the end. Thayer examined the 
document and offered to buy it, but was dissuaded by the seem- 
ingly exorbitant price which the old man set upon it. It was 
finally purchased for the city's archives by the Oberbiirgermeister 
and thus came to the notice of Dr. Deiters. His use of it has been 
followed by the present editor. 

Henry Edward Kreiibiel. 

Blue Hill, Maine, U. S. A. 
July, 1914. 



xviii The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Postscript 

The breaking out, in August, 1914, of the war between Austria 
and Servia which eventually involved nearly all the civilized 
nations of the world, led the publishers, who had originally under- 
taken to print this Work as brought to a conclusion by the Amer- 
ican Editor, indefinitely to postpone its publication. In the spring 
of 1920 the Beethoven Association, composed of musicians of 
high rank, who had given a remarkably successful series of con- 
certs of Beethoven's chamber-music in New York in the season 
1919-20, at the suggestion of O. G. Sonneck and Harold Bauer 
resolved to devote the proceeds of the concerts to promoting 
the publication of Thayer's biography. To this act of artistic 
philanthropy the appearance of the work is due. 

Blue Hill, Maine, U. S. A. H. E. K. 

September, 1920. 



Contents of Volume I 

PAGE 

Introduction vii 

Chapter I. Fall of the Ecclesiastical-Civil States in 
Germany — Character of Their Rulers — The Electors 
of Cologne in the Eighteenth Century — Joseph Cle- 
mens — Clemens August — Max Friedrich — Incidents and 
Achievements in Their Reigns — The Electoral Courts 
and Their Music — Earliest Records of the Beethovens 
in the Rhineland — Musical ^.Culture in Bonn at the 
Time of Ludwig van Beethoven's Birth — Operatic 
Repertories — Christian Gottlob Neefe — Appearance of 
the City 1 

Chapter II. Beethoven's Ancestors in Belgium — Louis 
van Beethoven, His Grandfather — He Leaves His Pater- 
nal Home — Tenor Singer at Louvain — His Removal to 
Bonn — Marriage — Activities as J ]»^<i J^i'ng-f^r >^ nd rhnp pl- 
master in the Eloctoml C]i;i.p f'l — Birth and Education 
of Johann van Beethoven, Father of the Composer — 
Domestic Afflictions — His Marriage — Appearance and 
Character of the Composer's Mother 42 

Chapter IH. Birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, the Com- 
poser — Conflict of Dates — The House in Which He 
Was Born — Poverty of the Family — An Inebriate 
Grandmother and a Dissipated Father — The Com- 
poser's Scant Schooling — His First Music Teachers — 
Lessons on the Pianoforte, Organ and Violin — Neefe 
Instructs Him in Composition — A Visit to Holland 53 

Chapter IV. Beethoven a Pupil of Neefe — Early Employ- 
ment of His Talent and Skill — First Efforts at Com- 
position — Assists Neefe at the Organ in the Orchestra 
of the Electoral Court — Is Appointed Assistant Court 
Organist — Johann van Beethoven's Family — Domestic 
Tribulations — Youthful Publications 67 

[ xix ] 



XX Contents of Volume I 

Chapter V, Elector Max Franz — Appearance and Char- 
acter of Maria Theresias's Youngest Son — His Career 
in Church and State — Musical Culture in the Austrian 
Imperial Family — The Elector's Admiration for Mozart 
and Mozart's Characterization of Him — His Court 
Music at Bonn 77 

Chapter VI. Beethoven Again — His Studies Interrupted 
— A Period of Artistic Inactivity in Bonn — The Young 
Organist Indulges in a Prank — A Visit to Vienna — 
Mozart Hears the Youthful Beethoven Play — Sym- 
pathethic Acquaintances — Death of Beethoven's Mother 
— Association with the von Breuning Family — Some 
Questions of Chronology Discussed 85 

Chapter VII. The Family von Breuning — Beethoven 
Brought Under Refining Influences — Count Waldstein — 
Beethoven's First Maecenas — Time of the Count's 
Arrival in Bonn — Beethoven Forced to Become Head 
of His Father's Family 98 

Chapter VIII. The National Theatre of Elector Max 
Franz — Beethoven's Associates in the Court Orchestra — 
Anton Reicha — Andreas and Bernhard Romberg — 
His Practical Experience in the Electoral Band — The 
Operatic Repertory of Five Years in the Court Theatre 105 

Chapter IX. The Last Three Years of Beethoven's Life 
in Bonn — Gleanings of Fact and Anecdote — A Visit 
from Haydn — Merry Journey up the Rhine — Beetho- 
ven's Meeting with Abbe Sterkel — He Extemporizes — 
His Playing Described by Carl Ludwig Junker — He 
Shows a Cantata to Haydn — The Extent of Max 
Franz's Patronage of the Composer — Social and Artistic 
Life in Bonn — Madame von Breuning a Guardian 
Angel — The Circle of Companions — Friendships with 
Y oung Women — Jeannette d'Honrath — Fraulein Wester- 
hold — ^Eleonore von Breuning — Beethoven Leaves Bonn 
Forever — The Parting with His Friends — Incidents of 
His Journey to Vienna 110 

Chapter X. Beethoven's Creative Activity in Bonn — An 
Inquiry into the Genesis of Many Compositions — The 



Contents of Volume I xxi 

Cantatas on the Death of Joseph II and the Elevation 
of Leopold II — Vicissitudes of These Compositions — A 
Group of Songs — The "Ritterballet" and Other Instru- 
mental Works — Several Chamber Compositions — The 
String Trio, Op. 3, Carried to England — Manuscripts 
Taken by Beethoven from Bonn to Vienna 129 

Chapter XI. Beethoven in Vienna — Care for His Personal 
Appearance — Death of His Father — Records of Minor 
Receipts and Expenditures — His Studies with Haydn — 
Clandestine Lessons in Composition with Johann Schenk 
— A Rupture with Haydn — Becomes a Pupil of Al- 
brechtsberger and Salieri — Characteristics as a Pupil 14G 

Chapter XII. ^Nlusic in Vienna at the Time of Beethoven's 
Arrival There — Theatre, Church and Concert-Room — 
Salieri and the Royal Imperial Opera — Schikaneder's 
Theater auf der Wieden — Composers and Conductors in 
the Imperial Capital — Paucity of Public Concerts — A 
Music-loving Nobility: The Esterhazys; Kinsky; Lich- 
nowsky; von Kees; van Swieten — Private Orchestras — 
Composers: Haydn, Kozeluch, Forster, Eberl, Vanhall — 
Private Theatres 163 

Chapter XIII. Beethoven in Society — Success as a Vir- 
tuoso — The Trios, Op. 1 — Tender Memories of Friends 
in Bonn — A Letter to Leonore von Breuning — Wegeler 
Comes to Vienna — His Reminiscences — A Quarrel and 
Petition for Reconciliation — Irksome Social Conven- 
tions — Affairs of the Heart — Variations for Simrock — 
First Public Appearance as Pianist and Composer — The 
Pianoforte Concertos in C and B-flat — The Trios, Op. 1, 
Revised— Sonatas Dedicated to Haydn — Dances for the 
Ridotto Room — Plays at Haydn's Concert 174 

Chapter XIV. The Years 1706 and 1797— Success 
Achieved in the Austrian Capital — A Visit to Prague — 
The Scena: "Ah, pcrfido!" — Sojourn in Berlin — King 
Frederick William II — Prince Louis Ferdinand — ^'i()l<)n- 
cello Sonatas — Relations with Hiinmel — Plays for the 
Singakademie — Fasch and Zciter — War-Songs — The 
Rombergs — A Forgotten Riding-Horse — Compositions 



xxii Contents of Volume I 

and Publications of the Period — Matthisson and His 
"Adelaide" — Quintet for Strings, Op. 4 — Pieces for 
Wind-instruments — The "Jena" Symphony — Dances 190 

Chapter XV. General Bernadotte — The Fiction about 
His Connection with the "Sinfonia eroica" — Rival 
Pianists — Joseph Wolj03 — Tomaschek Describes Beetho- 
ven's Playing — Dragonetti — J. B. Cramer — Beethoven's 
Demeanor in Society — Compositions of 1798 and 1799 — 
The Trios, Op. 9 — Pianoforte Concertos in C and B-flat 
— An Unfinished Rondo for Pianoforte and Orchestra — . 
Several Pianoforte Sonatas — "Sonate pathetique" — 
Trio for Pianoforte, Clarinet and Violoncello — Origin 
of the First Symphony — Protest Against an Arrange- 
ment of it as a Quintet 212 

Chapter XVI. Beethoven's Social Life in Vienna — Vogl — 
Kiesewetter — Zmeskall — Amenda — Count Lichnowsky 
— Eppinger — Krumpholz — Schuppanzigh and His Quar- 
tet — Johann Nepomuk Hummel — Friendships with 
Women — Magdalene Willmann — Christine Gerhardi — 
Dedications to Pupils — Countess Keglevics — Countess 
Henriette Lichnowsky — Countess Giulietta Guicciardi 
— Countess Thun — Princess Liechtenstein — Baroness 
Braun 229 

Chapter XVIL Beethoven's Character and Personality — 
His Disposition — Evil Effects of Early Associations and 
Inadequate Intellectual Training — Sentimental Ideals 
not Realized in Conduct — Self-sufficiency and Pride — 
The Homage of Young Disciples — Love of Nature — 
Relations with Women — Conceptions of Virtue — Liter- 
ary Tastes — His Letters — The Sketchbooks — His Man- 
ner of Compositions — Origin of His Deafness 245 

Chapter XVIII. Beethoven's Brothers — His First Concert 
on His Own Account — Septet and First Symphony 
Performed — Punto and the Sonata for Horn — The 
Charlatan Steibelt Confounded — Beethoven's Homes in 
Vienna — Madame Grillparzer, the Poet's Mother — 
Dolezalek — Hoffmeister — E. A. Forster — The Quartets, 
Op. 18 — Prince Lichnowsky 's Gift of a Quartet of Viols 
—Publications of 1800 265 



Contents of Volume I xxiii 

Chapter XIX. The Year 1801 — Compositions offered to 
Hoffmeister — Concerts for Wounded Soldiers — Vigano 
and the Ballet "Prometheus" — Interest in the Publica- 
tion of Bach's Works and His Indigent Daughter — 
Stephan von Breuning — Summer Home in Hetzendorf — 
Composition of "The Mount of Olives^' — Compositions 
and Publications of the Year — The Funeral March in the 
Sonata, Op. 26— The So-called "Moonlight" Sonata- 
Inspired by a Poem of Seume's — Illicit Publication of 
the String Quintet, Op. 29 281 

Chapter XX. Important Letters of 1801 — Communica- 
tions to Amenda, Hoffmeister and Wegeler — The Com- 
poser's 111 Health — The Beginning of His Deafness—— 
Early Symptoms Described by Himself — Thoughts of 
Marriage — Indignation Aroused by the Criticisms of 
the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung — The "Leipsic 
Oxen" — Gradual Recognition of Beethoven's Genius — 
Anton Reicha — Von Breuning's Relations with Beet- 
hoven — Lessons to Ferdinand Ries and Carl Czerny 297 

Chapter XXI. Beethoven's Love-Affairs — Countess Guic- 
ciardi — A Conversation with Schindler about Her 
Marriage — Schindler's Contradictory Story — Countess 
Erdbdy — Schindler's Theory Disproved — The Letter 
to the "Immortal Beloved" — Critical Study of its Date 
— Countess Guicciardi Not the W^oman Addressed — A 
Conjecture Concerning the Countess Therese von 
Brunswick — Other Candidates for the Honor of Being 
the Object of Beethoven's Supreme Love — Magdalena 
Willmann— Amalia Sebald— The Arguments of Kalischer, 
Mariam Tenger and Marie Lipsius (La Mara) Set 
Forth by the Editor of this Biography — Statements of 
Relations and Descendants of the Countesses Guicciardi 
and von Brunswick — The Memoirs of the Countess The- 
rese — Later French Investigations 317 

Chapter XXII. The Year 1802— The Village of Ileiligen-^ 
stadt — Beethoven's Views on Transcriptions — His De- 
spondency — The "Heiligenstadt Will" — Confession of 
His Deafness — The Second Symphony — Return to 
Vienna — ^larches for the Pianoforte, Four Hands — A 



xxiv Contents of Volume I 

Defence of Brothers Johann and Karl Kaspar — Their 
Characters — Karl's Management of Beethoven's Busi- 
ness Affairs — The Bagatelles, Op. 33 — The Songs, Op. 
52 — Compositions and Publications of 1802 — Three 
Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violin — The Sonatas for 
Pianoforte, Op. 31 — An Alteration by Nageli — Finale of 
the Sonata in D minor — Beethoven on the Character of 
His Variations 348 



Chapter I 



Introductory — The Electors of Cologne in the Eighteenth 
Century — Joseph Clemens, Clemens August and Max 
Friedrich — The Electoral Courts and Their Music — 
Musical Culture in Bonn at the Time of Beethoven's 
Birth — ^Appearance of the City in 1770. 

ONE of the compensations for the horrors of the French 
Revolution was the sweeping away of many of the petty 
sovereignties into which Germany was divided, thereby 
rendering in our day a union of the German People and the rise 
of a German Nation possible. The first to fall were the numerous 
ecclesiastical-civil members of the old, loose confederation, some of 
which had played no ignoble nor unimportant part in the advance of 
civilization ; but their day was past. The people of these states had 
in divers respects enjoyed a better lot than those who were sub- 
jects of hereditary rulers, and the old German saying: "It is good 
to dwell under the crook," had a basis of fact. At the least, they 
were not sold as mercenary troops; their blood was not shed on 
foreign fields to support their princes' ostentatious splendor, to 
enable mistresses and ill-begotten children to live in luxury and 
riot. But the antiquated ideas to which the ecclesiastical rulers 
held with bigoted tenacity had become a barrier to progress, the 
exceptions being too few to render their farther existence desirable. 
These members of the empire, greatly differing in extent, popu- 
lation, wealth and political influence, were ruled with few or no 
exceptions by men who owed their positions to election by 
chapters or other church corf)orations, whose numl)ers were so 
limited as to give full play to every sort of intrigue; but they 
could not assume their functions until their titles were confirmed 
by the Pope as head of the church, and by the Emperor as head 
of the confederation. Thus the subject had no voice in the 
matter, and it hardly need be said that his welfare and prosperity 
were never included among the motives and considerations on 
which the elections turned. 

[11 



2 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The sees, by their charters and statutes, we think without 
exception, were bestowed upon men of noble birth. They were 
benefices and sinecures for younger sons of princely houses; 
estates set apart and consecrated to the use, emolument and en- 
joyment of German John Lacklands. In the long list of their 
incumbents, a name here and there appears, that calls up historic 
associations; — a man of letters who aided in the increase or 
diffusion of the cumbrous learning of his time; a warrior who ex- 
changed his robes for a coat of mail; a politician who played a 
part more or less honorable or the reverse in the affairs and in- 
trigues of the empire, and, very rarely, one whose daily walk and 
conversation reflected, in some measure, the life and principles 
of the founder of Christianity. In general, as they owed their 
places wholly to political and family influences, so they assumed 
the vows and garb of churchmen as necessary steps to the enjoy- 
ment of lives of affluence and pleasure. So late as far into the 
eighteenth century, travelling was slow, laborious and expensive. 
Hence, save for the few more wealthy and powerful, journeys, 
at long intervals, to a council, an imperial coronation or a diet 
of the empire, were the rare interruptions to the monotony of 
their daily existence. Not having the power to transmit their 
sees to their children, these ecclesiastics had the less inducement 
to rule with an eye to the welfare of their subjects: on the other 
hand, the temptation was very strong to augment their revenues 
for the benefit of relatives and dependents, and especially for the 
gratification of their own tastes and inclinations, among which 
the love of splendor and ostentatious display was a fruitful source 
of waste and extravagance. 

Confined so largely to their own small capitals, with little 
intercourse except with their immediate neighbors, they were 
far more dependent upon their own resources for amusement 
than the hereditary princes: and what so obvious, so easily ob- 
tained and so satisfactory as music, the theatre and the dance! 
Thus every little court became a conservatory of these arts, and 
for generations most of the great names in them may be found 
recorded in the court calendars. One is therefore not surprised 
to learn how many of the more distinguished musical composers 
began life as singing boys in cathedral choirs of England and Ger- 
many. The secular princes, especially those of high rank, had, 
besides their civil administration, the stirring events of war, 
questions of public policy, schemes and intrigues for the advance- 
ment of family interests and the like, to engage their attention; 
but the ecclesiastic, leaving the civil administration, as a rule. 



Cologne and Its Electors 3 

in the hands of ministers, had little to occupy him officially but 
a tedious routine of religious forms and ceremonies; to him there- 
fore the theatre, and music for the mass, the opera, the ball-room, 
and the salon, were matters of great moment — they filled a wide 
void and were cherished accordingly. 

The three German ecclesiastical princes who possessed the 
greatest power and influence were the Archbishops of Mayence, 
Treves and Cologne — Electors of the Empire and rulers of the 
fairest regions of the Rhine. Peace appears hardly to have been 
known between the city of Cologne and its earlier archbishops; 
and, in the thirteenth century, a long-continued and even bloody 
quarrel resulted in the victory of the city. It remained a free 
imperial town. The archbishops retained no civil or political 
power within its walls, not even the right to remain there more 
than three daj^s at any one time. Thus it happened, that in the 
year 1257 Archbishop Engelbert selected Bonn for his residence, 
and formally made it the capital of the electorate, as it remained 
until elector and court were swept away in 1794. 

Of the last four Electors of Cologne, the first was Joseph 
Clem.ens, a Bavarian prince, nephew of his predecessor Maximilian 
Heinrich. The choice of the chapter by a vote of thirteen to nine 
had been Cardinal Fiirstenberg; but his known, or supposed, de- 
votion to the interests of the French king had prevented the rati- 
fication of the election by either the Emperor or the Pope. A 
new one being ordered, resulted in favor of the Bavarian, then a 
youth of eighteen years. The Pope had ratified his election and 
appointed a bishop to perform his ecclesiastical functions ad in- 
terim, and the Emperor invested him with the electoral dignity 
December 1, 1689. Vehse says of him: 

Like two of his predecessors he was the incumbent of five sees; he 
was Archbishop of Cologne, Bishop of Hildesheim, Liege, Ratisbon and 
Frcisingen. His love for pomp and splendor was a passion which he 
gratified in tlic maf^nific^ence of his court. lie delighted to draw thither 
beautiful and intellectual women. Madame de Raysbeck, and Countess 
Fugger, wife of his chief equerry, were his declared favorites. For seven- 
teen years, that is, until the disastrous year 1700, when Fenelon conse- 
crated him, he dehiyed assuming his vows. lie hehl the opinion, universal 
in the courts of those days, that he might with a clear conscience enjoy 
life after the manner of secular princes. In pleasing the ladies, he was 
utterly regardless of expense, and for their amusement gave magnificent 
balls, splendid masquerades, musical and dramatic entertainments, and 
hunting parties. 

St. Simon relates that several years of his exile were passed 
at Valenciennes, where, though a fugitive, he followed the same 



4 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

rouud of costly pleasures and amusements. He also records one 
of the Elector's jests which in effrontery surpasses anything re- 
lated of his contemporary, Dean Swift. Some time after his con- 
secration, he caused public notice to be given, that on the approach- 
ing first of April he would preach. At the appointed time he 
mounted the pulpit, bowed gravely, made the sign of the cross, 
shouted "Zum April!" (April fool!), and retired amid a flourish of 
trumpets and the rolling of drums. 

Dr. Ennen labors energetically to prove that Joseph Clemens's 
fondness in later years for joining in all grand church ceremonies 
rested upon higher motives than the mere pleasure of displaying 
himself in his magnificent robes; and affirms that after assuming 
his priestly vows he led a life devoted to the church and worthy 
of his order; thenceforth never seeing Madame de Raysbeck, 
mother of his illegitimate children, except in the presence of a 
third person. It seems proper to say this much concerning a 
prince whose electorship is the point of departure for notices of 
music and musicians in Bonn during the eighteenth century; a 
prince whose fondness for the art led him at home and in exile to 
support both vocal and instrumental bands on a scale generous 
for that age; and who, moreover, made some pretensions to the 
title of composer himself, as we learn from a letter which under 
date of July 20, 1720, he wrote to a court councillor Ranch to 
accompany eleven of his motets. It is an amusingly frank letter, 
beginning with a confession that he was an Ignorant who knew 
nothing about notes and had absolutely no knowledge of musique, 
wherefore he admits that his manner of composing is *'very odd," 
being compelled to sing anything that came into his head to a 
composer whose duty it was to bring the ideas to paper. Never- 
theless he is quite satisfied with himself, "At all events I must 
have a good ear and gusto, for the public that has heard has always 
approved. But the methodum which I have adopted is that of 
the bees that draw and collect the honey from the sweetest flowers; 
so, also, I have taken all that I have composed from good masters 
whose Musikalien pleased me. Thus I freely confess my pilfering, 
which others deny and try to appropriate what they have taken 
from others. Let no one, therefore, get angry if he hears old 
arias in it, for, as they are beautiful, the old is not deprived of its 
praise. ... I ascribe everything to the grace of God who 
enlightened me, the unknowing, to do these things." Not all 
"composers," royal or mean, are as honest as the old Elector! 

It is fortunate for the present purpose, that the portion of 
the electoral archives discovered after a lapse of nearly seventy 



Political Vicissitudes of the Electorate 5 

years and now preserved at Diisseldorf, consists so largely of 
documents relating to the musical establishment of the court at 
Bonn during the last century of its existence. They rarely afford 
information upon the character of the music performed, but are 
sufficiently complete, when supplemented by the annual Court 
Calendars, to determine with reasonable correctness the number, 
character, position and condition of its members. The few peti- 
tions and decrees hereafter to be given in full because of their 
connection with the Beethovens, suffice for specimens of the long 
series of similar documents, uniform in character and generallj'^ 
of too little interest to be worth transcription. 

In 1695 a decree issued at Liege by Joseph Clemens, then in 
that city as titular bishop, though not consecrated, adds three new 
names to the "Hoff-Musici," one of which. Van den Eeden, con- 
stantly reappears in the documents and calendars down to the year 
1782. From a list of payments at Liege in the second quarter of 
1696, we find that Henri Vandeneden (Heinrich Van den Eeden) 
was a bass singer, and that the aggregate of vocalists, instrument- 
ists, with the organ-blower (calcant), was eighteen persons. 

Returned to Bonn, Joseph Clemens resumed his plan of im- 
proving his music, and for those days of small orchestras and 
niggardly salaries he set it upon a rather generous foundation. 
A decree of April 1, 1698, put in force the next month, names 22 
persons with salaries aggregating 8,890 florins. 

After the death of Maximilian Heinrich the government 
passed into the hands of Cardinal Fiirstenberg, his coadjutor, 
who owed the position to the intrigues of Louis XIV, and now 
used it by all possible means to promote French interests. The 
king's troops under French commanders, he admitted into the 
principal towns of the electorate, and, for his own protection, a 
French garrison of 10,000 men into Bonn. War was the conse- 
quence; an imperial army successfully invaded the province, 
and, advancing to the capital, subjected its unfortunate inhabi- 
tants to all the horrors of a relentless siege, that ended October 
15, 1689, in the expulsion of the garrison, now reduced to some 3900 
men, of whom 1500 were invalids. Yet in the war of the Spanish 
Succession winch opened in 1701, notwithstanding the terrible 
lesson taught only eleven years before, the infatuated Joseph 
Clemens embraced the party of Ix)uis. Emperor Leopold treated 
him with singular mildness, in vain. The Elector persisted. In 
1702 he was therefore excluded from the civil government and 
fled from Bonn, the ecclesiastical authority in Cologne being em- 
powered by the Emperor to rule in his stead. The next year, the 



6 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

great success of the French armies against the allies was celebrated 
by Joseph Clemens with all pomp in Namur, where he then was; 
but his triumph was short. John Churchill, then Earl of Marl- 
borough, took the field as commander-in-chief of the armies of 
the allies. His foresight, energy and astonishing skill in action 
justified Addison's simile — whether sublime or only pompous — of 
the angel riding in the whirlwind and directing the storm. He 
was soon at Cologne, whence he despatched Cochorn to besiege 
Bonn. That great general executed his task with such skill and 
impetuosity, that on May 15 (1703) all was ready for storm- 
ing the city, when d'Allegre, the French commander, ofiFered to 
capitulate, and on the 19th was allowed to retire. "Now was 
Bonn for the third time wrested from the hands of the French and 
restored to the archbishopric, but alas, in a condition that aroused 
indignation, grief and compassion on all sides," says Miiller. 

Leopold was still kindly disposed toward Joseph Clemens, 
but he died May 5, 1705, and his successor, Joseph I, immedi- 
ately declared him under the ban of the Empire, This deprived 
him of the means and opportunities, as Elector, for indulging his 
passion for pomp and display, while his neglect hitherto, under 
dispensations from the Pope, to take the vows necessary to the 
performance of ecclesiastical functions, was likewise fatal to that 
indulgence as archbishop. But this could be remedied; Fene- 
lon, the famous Archbishop of Cambray, ordained him subdeacon 
August 15, 1706; the Bishop of Tournay made him deacon 
December 8, and priest on the 25th; on January 1, 1707, he read 
his first mass at Lille, and indulged his passion for parade to the 
full, as a pamphlet describing the incident, and silver and copper 
medals commemorating it, still evince, "Two years later. May 1, 
1709, Joseph Clemens received from Fenelon in Ryssel (Lille) 
episcopal consecration and the pallium." — (Miiller.) Upon the 
victory of Oudenarde by Marlborough, and the fall of Lille, he 
took refuge in Mons. The treaty of Rastadt, March, 1714, 
restored him to his electoral dignities and he returned to the Rhine; 
but Dutch troops continued to hold Bonn until December 11, 
1715, On the morning of tliat day they evacuated the city and 
in the afternoon the Elector entered in a grand, solemn procession 
commemorated by an issue of silver medals. 

During all these vicissitudes Joseph Clemens, from whatever 
source he derived the means, did not suffer his music to deteriorate 
and, returned to Bonn, no sooner was the public business regulated 
and restored to its former routine than he again turned his atten- 
tion to its improvement. 



The Rule of Elector Clemens August 7 

Joseph Clemens died November 12, 1723, having prex^ously 
secured the succession to his nephew Clemens August, last of the 
five Electors of Cologne of the Bavarian line. The new incum- 
bent, third son of Maximilian Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria and 
his second v,^ie, a daughter of the celebrated John Sobieski of 
Poland, was born August 17, 1700, at Brussels, where his father 
resided at the time as Governor General. From his fourth to his 
fifteenth year he had been held in captivity by the Austrians at 
Klagenfurt and Gratz; then, having been destined for the church, 
he spent several years at study in Rome. As a child in 1715 he 
had been appointed coadjutor to the Bishop of Regensburg; in 1719 
he was elected to the two sees of Paderborn and Mlinster made 
vacant by the death of his brother Moritz, was chosen coadjutor 
to his uncle of Cologne in 1722, made his solemn entry into Bonn 
as elector May 15, 1724, was the same year also elected Bishop 
of Hildesheim, in 1725 Provost of the Cathedral at Liege, 1728 
Bishop of Osnabriick, and, finally, in 1732 reached the dignity of 
Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. 

His rule is distinguished in the annals of the electorate for 
little else than the building, repairing, renewing and embellishing 
of palaces, hunting-seats, churches, convents, and other edifices. 
At Bonn he erected the huge pile the foundation of which had 
been laid l)y his uncle, now the seat of the university. The hand- 
some City Hall was also his work; the villa at Poppelsdorf was 
enlarged by him into a small palace, Clemensruhe, now the Univer- 
sity Museum of Natural History. In Briihl, the Augustusburg, 
now a Prussian royal palace, dates from his reign, and Miinster, 
Mergentheim, Arnsberg and other places show similar monu- 
ments of his prodigality in the indulgence of his taste for splendor. 
"Monstrous were the sums," says Dr. Ennen, "squandered by him 
in the purchase of splendid ornaments, magnificent equipages, 
furniture costly for its variety, and of curious works of art; upon 
festivities, sleighing-parties, masquerades, operas, dramas and 
ballets; upon charlatans, swindlers, female vocalists, actors and 
dancers. His theatre and opera alone cost him 50,000 thalers 
annually and the magnificence of his masked balls, twice a week 
in winter, is proof suflicient tliat no small sums were lavished 
upon them." 

The aggregate of the revenues derived from the several states 
of which Clemens August was the head nowlierc appears; but 
the civil income of the electorate alone had, in liis later years, 
risen from the million of fiorins of his predecessor to about the 
same number of thalers — an increase of some 40 per centum; 



8 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

added to this were large sums derived from the church, and sub- 
sidies from Austria, France and the sea-coast states amounting 
to at least 14,000,000 francs; indeed, during the Elector's last 
ten years the French subsidies alone made an aggregate of at 
least 7,300,000 francs; in 1728 Holland paid on account of the 
Clemens Canal 76,000 thalers. At the centennial opening of 
the strong-box of the Teutonic Order he obtained the fat accumu- 
lations of a hundred years; and 25 years later he opened it again. 
Yet, though during his rule peace was hardly interrupted in his 
part of Europe, he plunged ever deeper and more inextricably 
into debt, leaving one of large proportions as his legacy to his suc- 
cessor. He was a bad ruler, but a kindly, amiable and popular 
man. How should he know or feel the value of money or the 
necessity of prudence.'* His childhood had been spent in cap- 
tivity, his student years in Rome, where, precisely at that period, 
poetry and music were cultivated, if not in very noble and manly 
forms, at least with a Medicean splendor. The society of the 
Arcadians was in full activity. True, both Clemens August and 
his brother were under the age which enabled them to be enrolled 
as "Shepherds," and consequently their names appear neither in 
Crescembini nor in Quadrio; but it is not to be supposed that two 
young princes, already bishops by election and certain of still higher 
dignities in the future, were excluded from the palaces of Ruspoli 
and Ottoboni, from those brilliant literary, artistic and luxurious 
circles in which, only half a dozen years before, their young 
countryman, the musician Handel, had found so cordial a wel- 
come. Those were very expensive tastes, as the citation from 
Ennen shows, which the future elector brought with him from 
Rome. Italian palaces, Italian villas, churches, gardens, music, 
songstresses, mistresses, an Italian holy staircase on the Kreuzberg 
(leading to nothing); Italian pictures, mosaics and, what not.^ 
All these things cost money — but must he not have them? 

This elector is perhaps the only archbishop on record to 
whose epitaph may truthfully be added: "He danced out of this 
world into some other"; — which happened in this wise: Having, 
in the winter of 1760-61, by some unexpected stroke of good for- 
tune, succeeded in obtaining from the usually prudent and careful 
bankers of Holland a loan of 80,000 thalers, he embraced the 
opportunity of making a long-desired visit to his family in Munich. 
Owing to a sudden attack of illness he was once on the point of 
turning back soon after leaving Bonn. He persevered, however, 
reached Coblenz and crossed over to the palace of the Elector 
of Treves at Ehrenbreitstein, where he arrived at 4 p.m. 



Appointments in the Electoral Chapel 9 

February 5, 1761. At dinner an hour later he was unable to eat; 
but at the ball, which followed, he could not resist the fascination 
of the Baroness von Waldendorf — sister of His Transparency of 
Treves — and danced with her "eight or nine turns." Of course 
he could not refuse a similar compliment to several other ladies. 
The physical exertion of dancing, joined to the excitement of the 
occasion and following a dreary winter-day's journey, was too 
much for the enfeebled constitution of a man of sixty years. He 
fainted in the ballroom, was carried to his chamber and died 
next day. 

It seems to have been the etiquette, that when an elector 
breathed his last, the musical chapel expired with him. At all 
events, no other explanation appears of the fact that so many of 
the petitions for membership, which are still preserved, should be 
signed by men who had already been named in the Court Calen- 
dars. It is also to be remarked that some of the petitioners re- 
ceive appointments "without salary." These seem to have been 
appointments of the kind, which in later years were distinguished 
in the records and in the calendars by the term "accessist," and 
which, according to the best lights afforded by the archives, may 
be considered as having been provisional, until the incumbent 
had proved his skill and capacity, or until a vacancy occurred 
through the death or resignation of some old member. There are 
indications that the "accessists," though without fixed salary, 
received some small remuneration for their services; but this is by 
no means certain. It would seem that both vocalists and instru- 
mentists who received salaries out of the state revenues were 
limited to a fixed number; that the amount of funds devoted to 
this object was also strictly limited and the costs incurred by the 
engagement of superior artists with extra salaries, or by an in- 
crease of the number, were defrayed from the Elector's privy 
purse; that the position of "accessist" was sought by young mu- 
sicians as a stepping-stone to some future vacancy which, when 
acquired, insured a gradually increasing income during the years 
of service and a small pension when superannuated; that the 
etiquette of the court demanded, even in cases when the Elector 
expressly called some distinguished artist to Bonn, that the ap- 
pointment should be apparently only in gracious answer to an 
humble petition, and that, with few exceptions, both singers and 
members of the orchestra were employed in the church, the theatre 
and the concert-room. 

Clemens August made his formal entry into Bonn, May 15, 
1724. A number of petitions are passed over, but one granted 



10 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

"without salary" on February 18, 1727, from Van den Eeden 
must be given in its entirety: 

SuppHque tres humble a S. A. S. E. de Cologne 
pour Gille Vandeneet. 

Bonn, d. 18 Feb., 1727. 
Prince Serenissime, 
Monsigneur. 
Vandeneet vient avec tout le respect qui luy est possible se mettre 
aux pieds de V. A. S. E. luy representer qu'ayant eu I'honneur d'avoir 
estre second organiste de feu S. A. S. E, d'heureuse memoire, elle daigne 
luy vouloir faire la meme grace ne demendant aucun gage si long terns 
qu'il plaira a V. A. S. E. promettant la servire avec soin et diligence. 

Quoi faisant etc. etc. 

On the same date Van den Eeden received his appointment 
as second court organist. June 8, 1728, a decree is issued grant- 
ing him a salary of 100 florins. To a third petition the next year, 
signed Van den Enden, the answer is an increase of his salary to 
200 thalers, and thus a future instructor of Ludwig van Beetho- 
ven becomes established in Bonn. The records need not concern 
us now until we reach the following, which forms part of the 
history of the grandfather of the subject of this biography: 

March, 1733, 

DECRETUM 

For Ludovicum van Beethoven as Electoral Court Musician. 

CI. A. Whereas His Serene Highness Elector of Cologne, Duke 
Clemens August in Upper and Lower Bavaria, etc. Our Gracious Lord 
having, on the humble petition of liudovico van Beethoven, graciously 
declared and received him as Court Musician, and assigned him an annual 
salary of 400 florins Rhenisb, the present decree under the gracious hand 
of His Serene Electoral Highness and the seal of the Privy Chancellor, 
is granted to him, and the Electoral Councillor and Paymaster Risack 
is herewith commanded to pay the said Beethoven the 400 fl. quartaliter 
from the beginning of this year and to make a proper accounting thereof. 
B March, 1733. 

Thirteen years later we find this: 

Allowance of an additional 100 Thalers annually to the 
Chamber Musician van Beethoven. 

Inasmuch as His Serene Highness Elector of Cologne, Duke Clement 
August of Upper and Lower Bavaria, our most Gracious Lord has in- 
creased the salary of his Chamber Musician van Beethoven by the addi- 
tion of 100 thalers annually which became due through the death of 
Joseph Kayser, instrument maker, the Court Chamber Councillor and 
Paymaster Risach is hereby informed and graciously commanded to 



JoHANx VAN Beethoven Becomes "Accessist" 11 

pay to him the said Beethoven the 100 fl. a year in quarterly installments 
against voucher from the proper time and to make the proper accounting. 
Witness, etc. Poppelsdorf, August 22, 1746. 

On May 2, 17-47, Johann Ries became Court Trumpeter 
with a salary of 192 thalers. This is the first representative we 
have met of a name which afterwards rose to great distinction,, 
not only in the orchestra of the Elector but also in the world at 
large. On March 5, 1754, he was formally appointed Court 
Musician (violinist) ha\'ing set forth in his petition that instead 
of confining himself to the trumpet he had made himself service- 
able in the chapel by singing and playing other instruments. 
Later he took ill and was sent to Cologne. We shall presently 
meet his two daughters and his son Franz Ries, the last of whom 
will figure prominently in the life-history of Beethoven. Under 
date March 27, 1756, occur several papers which have a double 
interest. They relate to the Beethoven family and are so com- 
plete as to exhibit the entire process of appointment to member- 
ship in the electoral chapel. The original documents are not 
calculated to give the reader a very exalted idea of the ortho- 
graphical knowledge of the petitioner or the Chamber Music 
Director Gottwaldt; but that fault gives us the clue to the cor- 
rect pronunciation of the name Beethoven — the English "Beet- 
garden." 

To His Electoral Serenity of Cologne, etc. My most Gracious Lord 
the humble petition and prayer of 

Joan van Biethoffen. 

Most Reverend, most Serene Elector, 
Most Gracious Lord, Lord, etc. 

May it please your Electoral Serenity graciously to hear the humble 
representations how in the absence of voices in Your Highness's Court 
Chapel my insignififant self tof)k part in the music for at least four years 
without the good fortune of having allotted by Your Serene Electoral 
Highness a small aulario. 

I therefore pray Your Serene Electoral Highness most humbly that 
it graciously jilease you fin considcraf ion of my father's faithful service 
for 23 years) to rejoice me with a decree as court musician, which high 
grace will infuse me with zeal to serve Your Serene Highness with the 
greatest fidelity and zealousness. 

Your 

Serene Electoral Highness's 

Most hunil)le-obedient-faithful servant, 

Joan van Biethoffen. 



12 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

To the Music Director Gottwaldt for a report of his humble 
judgment. Attestation by the most gracious 
sign manual and seal of the privy chancellary. 

Bonn, March 19, 1756. 

(Signed) Clemens August (L.S.) 

Most reverend, most serene Elector, 
Most gracious Lord, Lord, etc. 

Your Serene Electoral Highness has referred to my humble judg- 
ment the petition of Joan van Piethoffen, the supplicant prays Your 
Electoral Highness for a gracious decree as accessist in the court music, 
he has lindeed served for two years with his voice on the Due Sail 
(doxal), hopes in time to deserve the good will of Your Serene Highness 
by his industry, and his father who enjoys the grace of serving Your 
Highness as bass singer prays his appointment, I pray most humbly and 
obediently for instruction concerning your Highness's good will in the 
matter, submit myself humbly and obediently to Your Serene Highness's 
grace and remain in greatest humility. 

Your Serene and Electoral Highness's 

Most Humble and obedient servant 

Gottwaldt, Director of the 

Chamber Music. 

A further report was made to the Elector as follows: 

Bonn, March 27, 1756. 
Coloniensis gratiosa. 

Chamber Music Director Gottwaldt ad supplicam of Joan van 
Betthoffen has served two years on the docsal and hopes through his 
industry to serve further to the satisfaction of Your Electoral Highness, 
to which end his father who through Your Highness's grace serves as 
bass singer will seek completely to qualify him which may it please Your 
Serene Highness to allow. 

Idem Gottwaldt ad supplicam Ernest Haveckas, accessist in the 
court music, reports that suppliant, though not fully capable as yet 
hopes by special diligence to make himself worthy of Your Highness's 
service and would be encouraged and rejoiced in his efforts if Your Serene 
Highness would graciously deign to grant him a decreto, humbly praying 
to be informed as to Your Highness's wishes in the matter. 

DECRETUM 

Court Musician's Decree for Johan van Biethofen. 

Clm. A. Whereas His Serene Electoral Highness of Cologne, 
Duke Clement August in Upper and Lower Bavaria etc. Our Gracious 
Lord on the humble petition of Johan van Biethofen and in considera- 
tion of his skill in the art of singing, also the experience in the same 
already gained, having graciously declared and accepted him as court 
musician, appoint and accept him by this writing; therefore the said 



The Duties of Court Chapelmasters 13 

Biethofen receives this decree with the gracious sign manual and seal of 
the Privy Chancellary, and those who are concerned to recognize him 
hereafter as an Electoral court musician and to pay him such respect as 
the position deserves. Bonn, March 25, 1756. 

Johann van Beethoven was 16 years old at this time. Why 
he should appear in the Court Calendar as an accessist four years 
after the publication of this decree appointing him Court Musician 
does not appear. 

But slender success has rewarded the search for means of 
determining the character and quality of that opera and music, 
upon which, according to Ennen, Clemens August lavished such 
large sums. The period embraced in that elector's rule (1724- 
1761) was precisely that in which the old Italian opera, the oratorio 
and the sacred cantata reached their extreme limits of develop- 
ment through the genius of Handel and J. S. Bach. It closes at 
the moment when Gluck, C. P. E. Bach and Joseph Haydn were 
laying the immovable foundations of a new operatic, orchestral 
and pianoforte music, and before the perfected sonata-form, that 
found universal adoption in all compositions of the better class, 
not vocal. Little music comparatively was issued from the press 
in those days, and consequently new forms and new styles made 
their way slowly into vogue. Another consequence was that the 
offices of composer for the chamber, the church, the comedy, 
or however they were named, were by no means sinecures — neither 
at the imperial court of Maria Theresia, nor at the court of any 
petty prince or noble whose servants formed his orchestra. Com- 
posers had to furnish music on demand and as often as was nec- 
essary, as the hunter delivered game or the fisherman fish. What 
a volume of music was produced in this manner can be seen in 
the case of Joseph Haydn at Esterhaz, whose fruitfulness did not, in 
all probability, exceed that of many another of his contemporaries. 
The older Telemann furnished compositions to the courts of 
Bayreuth and Eisenach as well as the Gray Friars at Frankfort- 
on-the-Main, and also performed his duties as musical director 
and composer at Hamburg. He wrote music with such ease that, 
as Handel said, he could write for eight voices as rapidly as an 
ordinary man could write a letter. Under such conditions did 
the men write who are mentioned as official composers in our 
narrative. It is probable that not a note of theirs remains in 
existence, and equally probable that the loss is not at all deplor- 
able except as it leaves the curiosity of an antiquary unsatisfied. 
A few text-books to vocal pieces performed on various occa- 
sions during this reign have been preserved, their titles being 



14 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

"Componimento per Musica," music by Giuseppe daH'Abaeo, 
Director of the Chamber Music (1740); "La Morte d'Abel" (no 
date is given, but "il Signor Biethoven" sang the part of Adamo); 
"Esther" ("From the Itahan of S. F. A. Aubert," the text partly 
in German, partly in Italian); "Anagilda" (Drama per Musica). 

After the unlucky ball at Ehrenbreitstein the crook and 
sceptre of Cologne passed from the Bavarian family which had 
so long held them into the hands of Maximilian Friedrich of the 
Suabian line Konigsegg- (or Konigseck-) Rothenfels. For a cen- 
tury or more this house had enjoyed fat livings in the church at 
Cologne, in which city the new elector was born on May 13, 1708. 
He was the fourth of his race who had held the important office of 
Dean of the Cathedral, from which post he was elevated to the 
electorship on April 6, 1761, and to the ecclesiastical principality 
of Mlinster the next year; with which two sees he was fain to be 
content. He was by nature an easy, good-tempered, indolent, 
friendly man, of no great force of character — qualities which in 
the incumbent of a rich sinecure just completing his fifty-third 
year, would be too fully confirmed and developed by habit to 
change with any change of circumstances; and which, says 
Stramberg, made him unusually popular throughout the land 
despite the familiar little verse: 

Bei Clemens August trug man blau und weiss, 
Da lebte man wie im Paradeis; 

Bei Max Friedrich trug man sich schwarz und roth. 
Da litt man Hunger wie die schwere Noth. 

The condition of the finances had become such through the 
extravagant expenditures of Clemens August that very energetic 
measures were necessary, and to the effects of these, during the 
first few years of Max Friedrich's rule, in throwing many persons 
out of employment, these doggerel lines doubtless owe their origin. 

It was fortunate for the Elector's subjects that his indolence 
was made good by the activity and energy of a prime minister 
who found his beau ideal of a statesman in Frederick II of Prussia, 
whom, in his domestic policy, he imitated as far as the character 
of the two governments allowed. This was equally if not more 
true in the principality of Miinster. To the respect which one 
must feel for the memory of Belderbusch, the all-powerful minister 
at Bonn, is added, in the case of Furstenberg, the equally power- 
ful minister at Miinster, admiration and regard for the man. 
The former was respected, feared, but not loved in the electorate; 
the latter was respected and very popular in the principality. 



Max Friedrich and His Minister 15 

To Kasper Anton von Belderbusch the new Elector owed his ele- 
vation; to his care he entrusted the state; to his skill and strength 
of character he was indebted for release from the pecuniary dif- 
ficulties which beset him and for the satisfaction, as the years 
rolled by, of seeing his states numbered among the most prosper- 
ous and flourishing in Germany. Belderbusch's first care was 
to reduce the expenditure. "He put a stop to building," says 
Ennen, "dismissed a number of the actors, restricted the number 
of concerts and court balls, dispensed with the costly hunts, 
reduced the salaries of court ofiicials, officers and domestics, 
lessened the etat for the kitchen, cellar and table of the prince, 
turned the property left by Clemens August into money and com- 
forted the latter's creditors with the hope of better times." But 
though economy was the rule, still, where the Elector considered 
it due to his position, he could be lavish. Whatever opinions may 
be entertained as to the wisdom and expediency of clothing eccle- 
siastics with civil power, it would be unjust not to give the bright 
as well as the dark side of the picture. This is well put by Kaspar 
Risbeck in relation to the Rhenish states whose princes were 
churchmen, and his remarks are in place here, since they relate 
in part to that in which the childhood and youth of Beethoven 
were spent. 

The whole stretch of the country from here to Mayence is one of 
the richest and most populous in Germany. Within this territory of 
18 German miles there are 20 cities lying hard by the shore of the Rhine 
and dating, for the greater part, from the period of the Romans. It is still 
plainly to be seen that this portion of Germany was the first to be built 
up. Neither morasses nor heatiis interru])t the evidences of cultiva- 
tion which stretch with equal industry far from the shores of the river 
over the contiguous country. While many cities and castles built under 
Charlemagne and iiis successors, especially Henry I, in other parts of 
Germany have fallen into decay, all in this section have not only been 

preserved hut many have been added to them The natural 

wealth of the soil in rom{)arison with that of other lands, and the easy 
disposition of its jjroducts by means of the Rhine, have no doubt con- 
trihuted most to these results. Nevertheless, great as is the prejudice 
in (ierrnany a;,'ainst the ecclesiastical governments, they have beyond 
doubt aided in the blooming development of these regions. In the 
three ecclesiastical electorates which make up the greater part of this 
tract of land nothing is known of those tax burdens under which the 
subjects of so many secular princes of (icrniaiiy groan. These princes 
have exceeded the old assessments but sligiitly. Little is known in 
their countries of .serfdom. The appanage of many princes and prin- 
cesses do not force them to extortion. They have no inordinate" military 
institution, and do not sell the sons of their farmers; and they have never 
taken so active a j)arl in the domestic and foreign wars of Germany as 



16 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

the secular princes. Though they are not adept in encouraging their 
subjects in art culture, varied agriculture has been developed to a high 
degree of perfection throughout the region. Nature does of its own 
accord what laws and regulations seek to compel, as soon as the rocks 
of offence are removed from the path.^ 

Henry Swinburne, whose letters to his brother were published 
long after his death under the title of "The Courts of Europe," 
writes under date of November 29, 1780: 

Bonn is a pretty town, neatly built, and its streets tolerably well 
paved, all in black lava. It is situated in a flat near the river. The 
Elector of Cologne's palace faces the South entry. It has no beauty 
of architecture and is all plain white without any pretensions. 

We went to court and were invited to dine with the Elector (Konigs- 
egge). He is 73 years old, a little, hale, black man, very merry and 
affable. His table is none of the best; no dessert wines handed about, 
nor any foreign wines at all. He is easy and agreeable, having lived 
all his life in ladies' company, which he is said to have liked better than 
his breviary. The captains of his guard and a few other people of the 
court form the company, amongst whom were his two great -nieces, 
Madame de Hatzfeld and Madame de Taxis. The palace is of immense 
size, the ball-room particularly large and low. . . . The Elector goes 
about to all the assemblies and plays at Tric-trac. He asked me to be 
of his party but I was not acquainted with their way of playing. There 
is every evening an assembly or play at court. The Elector seems very 
strong and healthy, and will, I think, hold the Archduke a good tug yet. 

This Archduke was Max Franz, youngest son of Maria 
Theresia, whose acquaintance Swinburne had made in Vienna, 
and who had just been chosen coadjutor to Max Friedrich. A 
curious proof of the liberality, not to say laxity, of the Elector's 
sentiments in one direction is given by Stramberg in his "Rhei- 
nischer Antiquarius," to wit, the possession of a mistress in common 
by him and his minister Belderbusch — the latter fathering the 
children — and this mistress was the Countess Caroline von 
Satzenhofen, Abbess of Vilich! 

The reduction which was made by Belderbusch upon the 
accession of Max Friedrich in the expenses of the theatre and 
other amusements does not appear, except in the case of the chapel- 
master, to have extended to the court music proper, nor to have 
been long continued in respect to the "operetta and comedy." 
The first in order of the documents and notices discovered relat- 
ing to the musical establishment of this Elector are of no common 
interest, being the petition of a candidate for the vacant oflBce of 

»"Briefe," II. 354, 355. 



Chapelmaster Ludwig van Beethoven 17 

chapelmaster and the decree appointing him to that position. 
They are as follows: 

Very Reverend Archbishop and Elector 
most gracious Lord Lord! 

May it please Your Electoral Grace to permit a representation of 
my faithfully and dutifully performed services for a considerable space 
as vocalist as well as, since the death of the chapelmaster, for more than 
a year his duties in Dupplo, that is to say by singing and wielding the 
baton concerning which my demand still remains ad referendum much 
less have I been assured of the position. Inasmuch as because of par- 
ticular recommendation Dousmoulin was preferred over me, and indeed 
unjustly, I have been forced hitherto to submit to fate. 

But now, gracious Elector and Lord, that because of the reduction 
in salaries Chapelmaster Dousmoulin has already asked his demission 
or will soon do so, and I at the command of Baron Belderbusch am to 
begin de novo to fill his office, and the same must surely be replaced, — 
Therefore 

There reaches Your Electoral Grace my humble petition that you 
may graciously be pleased (: inasmuch as the "Toxal" must be suffi- 
ciently supplied with musique, and I must at all events take the lead in 
the occurring church ceremonies in puncto the chorales:) to grant me 
the justice of which I was deprived on the death of Your Highness's 
antecessori of blessed memory, and appoint me chapelmaster with some 
augmentation of my lessened salary because of my services performed 
in Duplo. For which highest grace I shall pour out my prayers to God 
for the long continuing health and government of your Electoral Grace, 
while in deepest submission I throw myself at your feet. 

Your 

Electoral Grace's 

most humble servant 

Ludwig van Beethoven 
"Passist." 

M. F. Whereas We, Maximilian Friedrich, Elector of Cologne, on 
the demission of our former chapelmaster Touche Moulin, and the 
humble petition of our bass singer Ludwig van Beethoven have appointed 
the latter to be chapelmaster with the retention of his position as bass 
singer, and have added 97 rthlr. species 40 alb. to his former salary 
of 292 rthlr. species 40 alb. per annum divided in quartaUcn, which 
appointment is hereby made and payment ordered by our grace, our 
exchequer and all whom it may concern are called on to observe the 
fact and do what is required under the circumstances. 

Attest, etc. Bonn, July 10, 176L 

Next in order, at an interval of rather more than a year, is 
the following short pai)er in reply to a petition, not preserved, of 
the new cliapelmaster's son: 

S^npplicanten is hereby graciously assured that in the event of a 
vacatur of a court musician's salary he shall have special consideration. 



18 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Attest our gracious sign manual and the impress of the seal of the Privy 
Chancellary. 

Bonn, November 27, 1762. Max Fried. Elector. 

V. Belderbusch, (:L. S. :) 

About December, 1763, a singer, Madame Lentner, after 
some four and a half years of service, threw up her appointment, 
giving occasion, through the vacancy thus caused, for the follow- 
ing petition, report and decrees: 

Most Reverend Elector, Most Gracious 
Lord, Lord. 

Will Your Electoral Grace deign to receive the representation that 
by the acceptance of service elsewhere of Court Musician Dauber there 
.has fallen to the disposition of Your Reverend Electoral Grace a salary 
of 1,050 rth., wherefore I, Joannes van Beethoven, having graciously 
been permitted for a considerable time to serve as court musician and 
have been graciously assured by decree of appointment to the first 
vacancy, and have always faithfully and diligently performed my duties 
and graciously been permitted to be in good voice, therefore my prayer is 
made to Your Reverend and Electoral Grace for a grant of the aforesaid 
1,050 rth. or a gracious portion thereof, which act of highest grace I 
shall try to merit by fidelity and zeal in the performance of my duties. 

Your 
Reverend Electoral Grace's 
most obedient servant 
Joannes van Beethoven, 
vocalist. 



This petition was seconded by the father in the following 
manner: 

Most Reverend Archbishop and Elector, 
Most gracious Lord, Lord. 

Your Electoral Grace having graciously been pleased to submit for 
my humble report the humble petition of Your Highness's court musician 
Joann Ries that his daughter be appointed to the place in the court 
music of Your Highness made vacant by the discharged soprano Lentner 
sub Liu. A. 

Humbly obeying Your gracious command I submit an impartial 
report that for about a year the daughter of the court musician Ries 
has frequented the "Due sahl" (doxal) and sung the soprano part and 
that to my satisfaction. 

But now that my son Joannes van Beethoven has already for 13 
years sung soprano, contralto and tenor in every emergency that h.as 
arisen on the "Due sahl," is also capable on the violin, wherefore Your 
Reverend Electoral Grace 27 Novembris 1762 granted the accompanying 
decree graciously bearing your own high sign manual sub Litt. B. 



JoHANX VAX Beethovex's Salary 19 

My humble and obedient but not anticipatory opinion is that the 
court singer Lentner's vacated salary ad 300 fl. (: who went away without 
the gracious permission of Your Highness over a quarter of a year ago 
and reported to me in specie she was going without permission and would 
not return :) be graciously divided so that my son be decreed to receive 
200 florins and the daughter of Court Musician Ries 100 fl. 

Zu Ewr. Churfiirst. gnaden besidndige hidden und gnaden mich unter- 
thdnigst erlassendt in tieff ester submission ersierbe. 

Your Reverend Electoral Grace's 

most humble and obedient 

Ludwig van Beethoven, 

Chapel Master. 

Increase of salary of 100 rthr. for Court Musician Beethoven. 

M. F. 

Whereas We, Maximilian Friedrich. Elector of Cologne, on the 
humble petition of our court musician Johann van Beethoven, have 
shown him the grace to allow him 100 rthr. out of the salary vacated 
by the departure of the singer Lentner to be paid annually in quartalien 
we hereby confirm the allowance; for which this decree is graciously 
promulgated to be observed by our Electoral exchequer which is to 
govern itself accordingly. 

Attest p. Bonn, April 24, 1764. 

Under the same date a decree was issued appointing Anna 
Maria Ries, daughter of Johann Ries, Court Singer, w^ith a salary 
of 100 th. also out of that of the Lentner. A few days later the 
following action was taken: 

M. F. E. 

To the Electoral Exchequer touching the appointment of Court Musician 

Beethoven and the Singer Ries. 

You are hereby graciously informed that our court musician Bet- 
hoven junior and the singer Ries will soon lay before you two decrees of 
appointment. Now inasmuch as with this the salary of the former 
singer Lentner is disposed of but since she received an advance of 37)2 
rth. from our Master of Revenues and 18 rth. spec, was paid to her 
creditors we graciously command you herewith so to arrange the pay- 
ment of the two salaries that the advance from the Reveiuies and then 
the payment to the creditors be covered from the lycntiicr's salary; and 
that until this is done the salaries of the bcforementioned Ries and 
Bethoven do not begin. 

We etc. Bonn, April 27, 1764. 

On April 3, 1778, Anna ]\Laria Ries received an additional 
100 fl. A few more documents lead us to the family of Joluuui 
Peter Salomon: 



20 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

ad Supplicam Philip Salomon. 

To inform our chapelmaster van Betthoven appointed on his 
humble petition that we are not minded to grant the letter prayed for 
to the Prince v. Sulkowsky, but in case his son is not returned by the 
beginning of the coming month Sbris, we are graciously determined to 
make disposition of his place and salary. 

Attest. Miinster, August 8, 1764. 
Sent, the 22 dito. 

In spite of this order on July 1, 1765, the Elector gave a 
document to the son, Johann Peter Salomon, certifying that he 
had served him faithfully and diligently and had "so conducted 
himself as to deserve to be recommended to every one according 
to his station."^ On petition of Philipp Salomon, the father, he 
, and his daughter were appointed Court Musicians by decree dated 
August 11, 1764. 

Several papers, dated April 26, 1768, although upon matters 
of very small importance, have a certain interest as being in part 
official communications from the pen of Chapelmaster van Beet- 
hoven, and illustrating in some measure his position and duties. 
They show, too, that his path was not always one bordered with 
roses. Being self-explanatory they require no comment: 

I. 

Most Reverend Archbishop and Elector, 
Most Gracious Lord, Lord. 

Will Your Electoral Grace deign to listen to the complaint that 
when Court Singer Schwachhofer was commanded in obedience to an 
order of His Excellency Baron von Belderbusch to alternate with Jaco- 
bina Salomon in the singing of the solos in the church music as is the 
custom, the said Schwachhofer in the presence of the entire chapel im- 
pertinently and literally answered me as follows : I will not accept your 
ordre and you have no right to command me. 

Your Electoral Grace will doubtless recall various disordre on the 
part of the court chapel indicating that all respect and ordonance is 
withheld from me, each member behaving as he sees fit, which is very 
painful to my sensibilities. 

Wherefore my humble prayer reaches Your Electoral Highness 
that the public affront of the Schwachhofer be punished to my deserved 
satisfaction and that a decree issue from Your Highness to the entire 

^This was the beginning of the career of Salomon. He became concertmaster 
to Prince Henry of Prussia, played in Paris, and in 1781 took up a residence in London 
where, as violinist and conductor, he became brilliantly active and successful. He 
made repeated visits to Bonn, once in 1790, when he was on his way to London 
accompanied by Haydn. 



JOHANN VAN BeETHOVEN NeEDS MoRE MoNEY 21 

chapel that at the cost of Your Gracious displeasure or punishment 
according to the offence my ordre shall not be evaded. 

Your Electoral Grace's 

Humble and Most Obedient Servant 

Ludovicus van Beethoven. 

II. 

To Chapelmaster van Beethoven 
Concerning the Court Musicians. 

M. F. E. 
Receive the accompanying Command to the end that its contents 
be conveyed to all of our court musicians or be posted on the "toxal." 
We remain, etc. 

Bonn, April 26, 1768. 

III. 

Command respecting the Court Musicians. 

Having learned with displeasure that several of our court musicians 
have tried to evade the ordre issued by our Chapel Master or refused to 
receive them from him, and conduct themselves improperly amongst 
themselves, all of our court musicians are hereby earnestly commanded 
without contradiction to obey all the commands given by our Chapel 
Master in our name, and bear peaceful relations with each other, since 
we are determined to proceed with rigor against the guilty to the extent 
of dismissal in certain cases. 

Sig. Bonn, April 26, 1768. 

On November 17, 1769, Johann van Beethoven submits a 
petition in which he exhibits anew his genius for devising metliods 
for varying the spelling of his own name. That he could no 
longer live on 100 th. salary is evident when it is remembered 
that he has now been married two years; but as there were sev- 
eral applicants for the salary which had fallen to the disposal of 
the Elector, it was divided among the four most needy. Beet- 
hoven's memorial contains a fact or two in regard to his duties 
as Court Musician which are new: 

To 
His Electoral Grace 

of Cologne, etc., etc. 
The Humble Supplication 
and Prayer 

of 
Johann Bethof, Court Musician. 

Most Reverend Archbishop and Elector, 
Most (iracious Lord, Lord. 

May Your Most Reverend Electoral Grace, graciously permit the 
presentation of this humble supplicandoy how for many years I have 



22 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

served Your Highness faithfully and industriously on the "Due saahl" 
and the theatre, and also have given instruction in various supjecta 
concerning the aforesaid service to the entire satisfaction of Your 
Electoral Grace, and am engaged now in study to perfect myself to 
this end. 

My father also joins in this supplic in his humble capacity of the 
theatri and will participate in the gladness should Your Electoral Grace 
graciously grant the favor; as it is impossible for me to live on the 
salary of 100 th. graciously allowed me, I pray Your Electoral Grace 
to bestow upon me the 100 th. left at Your gracious disposal by the 
death of Your court musician Philip Haveck; to merit this high grace 
by faithful and diligent service shall be my greatest striving. 

Your Electoral Grace's 
most humble 

Joannes Bethof, 
Court Musician. 

In answer to this there came the following decree: 

Whereas we. Max. Frid. p. on the death of Court Musician Philipp 
Haveck and the submissive petition of our court musician Philipp 
Salomon bestowed upon him the grace of adding 50 fl. for his two daughters 
to the salary which he already enjoys out of the salary of the above 
mentioned Haveck per year; we confirm the act hereby; wherefore we 
have graciously issued, this decree, which our Electoral Court Exchequer 
will humbly observe and make all necessary provisions. 

Attest, p. Munster, 17th 9bris 1769. 
(On the margin:) "Gracious addition of 50 fl. for the court musician 
Philipp Salomon" and, besides Brandt and Meuris, also "m simili for 
Court Musician Joann Bethoff 25 fl." 

There need be no apology for filling a few more pages with 
extracts from documents found in the Dusseidorf archives; for 
now a period has been reached in which the child Ludwig van 
Beethoven is growing up into youth and early manhood, and 
thrown into constant contact with those whose names will appear. 
Some of these names will come up many years later in Vienna; 
others wall have their parts to play in the narrative of that child's 
life. Omitting, for the present, a petition of Johann van Beet- 
hoven, w^e begin them with that of Joseph Demmer, of date Janu- 
ary 23, 1773, which first secured him his appointment after a year's 
service and three months' instruction from "the young Mr. van 
Beethoven." 

Most Reverend Archbishop and Elector, 
Most Gracious Lord, etc., etc. 

I have been accepted as chorister in the cathedral of this city at 
a salary of 80 th. per year, and have so practised myself in music that 



Joseph Demmer Succeeds Beethoven 23 

I humbly flatter myself of my ability to perform my task with the highest 
satisfaction. 

It being graciously known that the bass singer van Beethoven is 
incapacitated and can no longer serve as such, and the contra-bassist 
Noisten can not adapt his voice: therefore this my submissive to Your 
Reverend Electoral Grace that you graciously be pleased to accept me 
as your bass singer with such gracious salary as may seem fit; I offer 
should it be demanded to attend the operettas also and qualify myself 
in a short time. It depends upon a mere hint from Your Electoral 
Grace alone; that it shall not be burdensome to the cantor's office of 
the cathedral to save the loss of the 80 th. yearly which it has bestowed 
upon me. 

I am in most dutiful reverence 

Your Electoral Grace's 

most obedient 

Joseph Demmer. 

Pro Memoria. 

Cantor Demmer earned at the utmost 106 rth. per year if he 
neglected none of the greater or little Horis. 

Pays the Chamber Chancellor Kugelgen 
for board, annually, 66 rth. 
for quartier (lodging) 12 rth. 
moreover, he must find himself in clothes and washing since his father, 
the sub-sacristan in Cologne, is still overburdened with 6 children. 
He has paid 6 rth. to young Mr. Beethoven for 3 months. 

In response to another petition after the death of L. van 
Beethoven the following decree was issued: 

Decree as Court vocal bass for Joseph Demmer. 

■\Miereas His Electoral Grace of Cologne, M. F. our most gracious 
Lord, on the humble petition of Joseph Demmer has graciously appointed 
and accepted him as His Higlmess's vocal bass on the Electoral Toxal, 
with a yearly salary of 200 fl. divided in quarlallen to begin with the 
current time, the ap[)ointment is confirmed hereby and a decree granted 
to the same Demmer, of which, for purposes of payment, the Electoral 
Chancellary will take notice and all whom it may concern will respect 
and obey the same and otherwise do what is necessary in the premises. 
Attest, p. Bonn, May 29, 1774. 

Two years later leave of absence, but without salary, was 
granted to Joseph Demmer to visit Amsterdam to complete liis 
education in music. Further notes from documentary sources: 

1774. May 26. Andreas Lucchcsi appointed Court Chapelmastcr in 
place of Ludwig van Beethoven, deceased, with a salary of 
1,000 fl. 
May 29. Salary of Anna Maria Ries raised from 2.50 fl. to 300 fl. 
On May 13, 177.'), together with Ferdinand Trewcr (Drewer), 
violinist, she receives leave of absence for four months, to 



24 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

begin in June with two quarters' pay in advance. In the 
Court Calendar for 1775, which was printed about seven 
months in advance, she is aheady described as Madame 
Drewers, nee Ries. She was considered the best singer in 
the chapel. 
"November 23. Franz Anton Ries has granted him 25 th. 
payable quarterly. 

1775. March 23. Nicolas Simrock appointed on petition "Court Hornist 
on the Electoral Toxal, in the cabinet and at table," and a 
salary of 300 fl. was granted April 1. This is the first appear- 
ance in these records of a name which afterwards rose into 
prominence. 

1777. April 20. B. J. Maurer, violoncellist, "who has served in the 
court chapel from the beginning of the year till now on a 
promise of 100 th.," prays for an appointment as court 'cellist 
at a salary of 400 th. Appointed at a salary of 200 th.; we 
shall have occasion to recur to him presently in connection 
with notices touching Beethoven. 

Under date May 22, 1778, J. van Beethoven informs the 
Elector that "the singer Averdonck, who is to be sent to Chapel- 
master Sales at Coblenz, is to pay 15 jBl. per month for board and 
lodging but that only a douceur is to be asked for her instruction 
and that to take her thither will cost 20 th." There followed 
upon this the following document: 

To the humble announcement of Court Musician Beethoven 
touching the singer Averdonck. 

Electoral Councillor Forlivesi is to pay to the proper authorities 
for a year beginning next month, 15 fl. a month and for the travelling 
expenses 20 rth. once and for all as soon as the journey is begun. Attest, 
p. Bonn, May 22, 1778. 

This pupil of Johann van Beethoven, Johanna Helena Aver- 
donk, born in Bonn on December 11, 1760, and brought forward 
by her teacher at a concert in Cologne, received 120 th. "as a 
special grace" on July 2, and was appointed Court Singer on 
November 18, 1780, with a salary of 200 th." She died nine 
years later, August 13, 1789. 

The petitions sent in to the Elector were rarely dated and 
were not always immediately attended to; therefore the date of 
a decretum is not to be taken as conclusive in regard to the date of 
facts mentioned in a petition. An illustration is afforded by a 
petition of Franz Ries. He has returned from a tour to Vienna 
and prays for a salary of 500 fl. "not the half of what he can earn 
elsewhere." The petition is dated March 2. Two months passing 
without bringing him an answer, he petitions again and obtains 



Opera at the Elector's Court 25 

a decree on May 2 that in addition to his salary of 28 th, 2 alb. 
6, he shall receive "annoch so viel," — again as much, — i. e., 
400 fl. 

1780. August. Court Organist Van den Eede prays that in considera- 

tion of his service of 5-i years he be graciously and charitably 
given the salary vacated by the death of Court Musician 
Salomon. Eighteen others make the same prayer. The 
decision of the privy council is in these words: "To be divided 
between Huttenus and Esch. A decree as musical vocalist 
must first be given to the latter." 

1781. February 15. The name of C. G. Neefe is now met with for the first 

time. He petitions for appointment to the position of organist 
in succession to Van den Eede, obviously aged and infirm. A 
decree was issued ''placet et expediatur on the death of Organist 
Van den Eede," and a salary of 400 fl. granted. 

1782. May 16. Johann van Beethoven petitions for "the three measures 

(M alter) of corn." 

The archives of Dusseldorf furnish little more during the 
time of Max Frederick save certain papers relating to the Beet- 
hoven family, which are reserved for another place. 

The search for means to form some correct idea of the char- 
acter of the musical performances at the Elector's court during 
this reign has been more successful than for the preceding; but 
much is left to be desired down to the year 1778, when the theatre 
was placed upon a different basis and its history is suflSciently 
recorded. Such notices, however, in relation to the operatic enter- 
tainments as have been found scattered, mostly in the newspapers 
of Bonn, in those years, are numerous enough to give an idea of 
their character; while the remarks upon the festivities of the 
court, connected with them, afford a pretty lively picture of social 
amusement in the highest circle. We make room for some of the 
most significant occurrences, in chronological order: 

17G4. January 3. Galuppi's opera "II Filosofo di Campagna," given 
in the Electoral Theatre with great applause. 

January 8. A grand assembly at the palace in the afternoon, 
a magnificent supper in the grand gallery at which many 
spectators were present, and finally a masked ball. 

March 2.3. Second performance of "La buona Figliuola," nmsic 
by Piccini. 

May 13. Elector's birthday; "Le Nozze," music by Galuppi, and 
two ballets. 

May 20. "II Filosofo" again, the notice of which is followed 
by the remark that the Elector is almut removing to Bruhl 
for the summer but will visit Bonn twice a week "on the days 
when operas are performed." 



26 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

September 21. "La Pastorella al Soglio" (composer not named, 
probably Latilla), and two ballets. 

December 16. "La Calamita di cuori," by Galuppi, and two 
ballets. This was "the first performance by the Mingotti 
company under the direction of Rizzi and Romanini." 
1765. January 6. "Le Aventure di Rodolfo" (Piccini?), given by the 
same company together with a pantomime, "L'Arlequino 
fortunato per la Maggia." After the play there was a grand 
supper at which the Pope's nuncio was a guest, and finally a 
masked ball kept up till 6 o'clock in the morning. 

1767. May 13. The Archbishop's birthday. Here is the programme 

condensed from the long description of the festivities in the 
"Bonnischer Anzeiger": 1, Early in the morning three rounds 
from the cannon on the city walls; 2, The court and public 
graciously permitted to kiss His Transparency's hand; 3, 
solemn high mass with salvos of artillery; 4, Grand dinner in 
public, the pope's nuncio, the foreign ministers and the nobility 
being the guests and the eating being accompanied by "ex- 
quisite table-music"; 5, After dinner "a numerously attended 
assembly"; 6, "A serenata composed especially for this most 
joyful day" and a comic opera in the palace theatre; 7, Supper 
of 130 covers; 8, Bal masque until 5 a. m. The two dramatic 
pieces were "Serenata festivale, tra Bacco, Diana ed il Reno," 
the authors unnamed, and "Schiava finta," drama giocoso dal 
celebre don Francesco Garzia, Spagnuolo, the music probably by 
Piccini; "Giovanni van Beethoven" sang the part of Dorindo. 

1768. May 16. "On the stage of the Court Theatre was performed with 

much applause a musical poem in German, specially written 
for the birthday of His Highness, and afterward an Italian 
intermezzo entitled 'La Nobilta delusa.' " 

1769. The festivities in honor of the birthday of the Elector took place 

May 17th, when, according to the "Anzeiger," "an Italian 
musical drama written expressly for this occasion was per- 
formed" — but the title suggests the possibility of a mistake; 
"II Riso d'Apolline," with music by Betz, had been heard in 
1701. 

1771. A single discovery only for this year has rewarded search, that 

of a text-book, one of particular interest: "Silvain," comedie en 
une acte, melee d'ariettes, representee, etc. Text by Marmon- 
tel, music by Gretry. Dolmon pcre, Mons. Louis van Beet- 
hoven, Maiire de Chapelle; Dolmon, fils aine, Jean van Beet- 
hoven, etc. 

1772, February 27. "Le Donne sempre Donne," music by Andreas 

Lucchesi. 

In March, on occasion of the opening of the Estates, "La Con- 

tadine in Corte," music by Sacchini. 
The pieces given on the birthday this year were "II Natal di 

Giove," music by Lucchesi, and "La buona Figliuola," music 

by Piccini. On the 17th the latter was repeated on the arrival 

of the French ambassador. 



Versatility of the Court Musicians 27 

1773. May 30. The Elector's birthday; "LTnganno scoperto, overo il 
Conte Caramella," music by Lucchesi, in which Ludovico van 
Beethoven sang the part of Brunoro, contadino e tamburino. 

There are three more operettas which evndently belong to 
the succeeding winter when the Bonn company had the aid of 
two singers from the electoral court of Treves. Their titles are 
"LTmprovvisata, o sia la Galanteria disturbata," by Lucchesi, "Li 
tre Amanti ridicoli," by Galuppi, and "La Moda," by Baroni. 
Ludwig van Beethoven did not sing in them. The means are still 
wanting to fill up the many gaps in the annals of this period or to 
carry them on during the next three years. Perhaps, however, the 
loss is not of much importance, for the materials collected are 
sufficient to warrant certain conclusions in regard to the general 
character of the court music. The musicians, both vocal and 
instrumental, were employed in the church, concert-room and 
theatre; their number remained without material change from 
the days of Christopher Petz to the close of Chapelmaster van 
Beethoven's life; places in this service were held to be a sort of 
heritage, and of right due to the children of old incumbents, when 
possessed of sufficient musical talent and knowledge; few if any 
names of distinguished virtuosos are found in the lists of the mem- 
bers, and, in all probability, the performances never rose above 
the respectable mediocrity of a small band used to playing 
together in the light and pleasing music of the day. 

The dramatic performances appear to have been confined to 
the operetta; and the vocalists, who sang the Latin of the mass, 
seem to have been required to be equally at home in German, 
Italian and French in the theatre. Two visits of the Angelo 
Mingotti troupe are noted; and one attempt, at least, to place 
the opera upon a higher basis by the engagement of Italian song- 
stresses, was evidently made in the time of Clemens August.; 
it may be concluded that no great improvement was made — it is 
certain that no permanent one was; for in the other case the Bonn 
theatrical revolution of 1778 had not been needed. This must be 
noticed in detail. 

Chronologically the following sketch belongs to the biography 
of Ludwig van Beethoven, as it embraces a period which hui)j)ens 
in his case to be of special interest, young as he was; — the j)oriod 
from his 8th to lu's 14tli year. But the details given, though of 
great importance for the light which they throw upon the musical 
life in which he moved and acted, v/ould liardly be of so much 
interest to most readers as to justify breaking with them the course 
of the future narrative. 



28 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

It was a period of great awakening in theatrical matters. 
Princes and courts were beginning everywhere in Germany to 
patronize the drama of their mother tongue and the labors of 
Lessing, Gotter and other well-known names, in the original pro- 
duction of German, or in the translation of the best English, 
Italian and French plays, were justifying and giving ever new 
impulse to the change in taste. From the many itinerant troupes 
of players performing in booths, or, in the larger cities, in the 
play-houses, the better class of actors were slowly finding their 
way into permanent companies engaged and supported by the 
governments. True, many of the newly established court theatres 
had but a short and not always a very merry life; true, also, that 
the more common plan was merely to afford aid and protection to 
some itinerant troupe; still the idea of a permanent national 
theatre on the footing of the already long-existing court musical 
establishments had made way, and had already been carried out in 
various places before it was taken up by the elector at Bonn. It 
can hardly be supposed that the example of the imperial court at 
Vienna, with the immense means at its disposal, could exert any 
direct influence upon the small court at Bonn at the other extrem- 
ity of Germany; but what the Duke of Gotha and the elector at 
Mannheim had undertaken in this direction, Max Friedrich may 
well have ventured and determined to imitate. But there was 
an example nearer home — in fact in his own capital of Munster, 
where he, the prince primate, usually spent the summer. In 
1775, Dobbler's troupe, which had been for some time playing 
in that city, was broken up. 

The Westhus brothers in Munster built up their own out of the 
ruins; but it endured only a short time. Thereupon, under the care of 
the minister, H. von Furstenberg (one of those rare men whom heaven 
elects and equips with all necessary gifts to cultivate what is good and 
beautiful in the arts), a meeting of the lovers of the stage was arranged 
in May and a few gentlemen of the nobility and a few from the parterre 
formed a council which assumed the direction. The Elector makes a 
considerable contribution. The money otherwise received is to be 
applied to the improvement of the wardrobe and the theatre. The 
actors receive their honoraria every month. ^ 

At Easter, 1777, Seyler, a manager famous in German theat- 
rical annals, and then at Dresden, finding himself unable to com- 
pete with his rival, Bondini, left that city with his company to 
try his fortunes in Frankfort-on-the-Main, Mayence, and other 
cities in that quarter. The company was very large — the Theatre 

iReichardt, "Theaterkalender, 1778," p. 99. 



Opeil\ and Drola. at Bonn in 1779 29 

Lexicon (Article "Mainz") makes it, including its orchestra, 
amount to 230 individuals! — much too large, it seems, in spite of 
the assertion of the Theatre Lexicon, to be profitable. Be that 
as it may, after an experience of a year or more, two of the leading 
members, Grossmann and Helmuth, accepted an engagement 
from Max Friedrich to form and manage a company at Bonn in 
order that "the German art of acting might be raised to a school 
of morals and manners for his people." Taking with them a 
pretty large portion of Seyler's company, including several of 
the best members, the managers reached Bonn and were ready 
upon the Elector's return from Miinster to open a season. "The 
opening of the theatre took place," says the Bonn "Dramatur- 
gische Nachrichten," "on the 26th of November, 1778, with a 
prologue spoken by Madame Grossmann, 'WilhelmineBlondheim,' 
tragedy in three acts by Grossmann, and 'Die grosse Batterie,' 
comedy in one act by Ayrenhofer." The same authority gives 
a list of all the performances of the season, which extended to the 
30th of May, 1779, together with debuts, the dismissals and other 
matters pertaining to the actors. The number of the evenings 
on which the theatre was open was 50. A five-act play, as a rule, 
occupied the whole performance, but of shorter pieces usually 
two were given; and thus an opening was found occasionally for an 
operetta. Of musical dramas only seven came upon the stage and 
these somewhat of the lightest order except the first — the melo- 
drama "Ariadne auf Naxos," music by Benda. The others were: 

1779. February 21. "Julie," translated from the French by Grossmann, 

music by Desaides. 
February 28. "Die Jager und das Waldmadchen," operetta in one 

act, music by Duni. 
March 21. "Der Hofschmied," in two acts, music by Philidor. 
April 9. "Roschen und Colas," in one act, music by ISIonsigny. 
May 5. "Dor Fassbinder," in one act, music by Oudinot. 
May 14. A proloj^uc "Dedicated to the Birthday Festivities 

of His Electoral Grace of Cologne, May 13, 1779, by J. A. 

Freyherrn vom Hagen." 

The selection of dramas was, on the whole, very creditable to 
the taste of the managers. Five of Lessing's works, among them 
"Minna von Barnhclin" and "Emih'a Galotti," arc in tJic list and 
some of the best productions of Bock, (iottcr, Engcl and their 
contemporaries; of translations there were Colman's "Clandestine 
Marriage" and "Jealous Wife," Garrick's "Miss in her Teens," 
Cumberland's "West Indian," Iloadly's "Suspicious Husband," 
Voltaire's "Zaire" and "Jeannette," Bcaumarchais's "Eugenie," 



so The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

two or three of the works of Moliere, and Goldoni, etc.; — in short, 
the Hst presents much variety and excellence. 

Max Friedrich was evidently pleased with the company, for 
the "Nachrichten" has the following in the catalogue of perform- 
ances: "On the 8th (of April) His Electoral Grace was pleased to 
give a splendid breakfast to the entire company in the theatre. . . . 
The company will occupy itself until the return of His Electoral 
Grace from Miinster, which will be in the middle of November, 
with learning the newest and best pieces, among which are 'Ham- 
let,' 'King Lear' and 'Macbeth,' which are to be given also with 
much splendor of costume according to the designs of famous 
artists." 

It may be remarked here that the "Bonn Comedy House" 
(for painting the interior of which Clemens August paid 468 
thalers in 1751, a date which seems to fix the time at which that 
end of the palace was completed), occupied that portion of the 
present University Archaeological Museum room next the Coblenz 
Gate, with large doors opening from the stage into the passage- 
way so that this space could be used as an extension of the stage 
in pieces requiring it for the production of grand scenic effects. 
Above the theatre was the "Redouten-Saal" of Max Franz's 
time. The Elector had, of course, an entrance from the passages 
of the palace into his box. The door for the public, in an angle 
of the wall now built up, opened out upon the grove of horse- 
chestnuts. The auditorium was necessarily low, but spacious 
enough for several hundred spectators. Though much criticized 
by travellers as being unworthy so elegant a court, not to say 
shabby, it seems to have been a nice and snug little theatre. 

Meanwhile affairs with Seyler were drawing to a crisis. He 
had returned with his company from Mannheim and reopened at 
Frankfort, August 3, 1779. On the evening of the 17th, to escape 
imprisonment as a bankrupt, whether through his own fault or 
that of another — the Theatre Lexicon aflBrms the latter case — he 
took his wife and fled to Mayence. The company was allowed 
by the magistrates to play a few weeks with a view of earning at 
least the means of leaving the city; but on October 4, its mem- 
bers began to separate; Benda and his wife went to Berlin, but C. 
G. Neefe, the music director, and Opitz, descended the Rhine 
to Bonn and joined the company there — Neefe assuming tempo- 
rarily the direction of the music in the theatre — of which more in 
another place. 

No record has been found of the repertory of the Bonn 
theatre for the season 1779-1780, except that the opening piece on 



Another Busy Season at Bonn 



31 



December 3, on the evening after the Elector's return from Mlin- 
ster, was a prologue, "Wir haben Ihn wieder!" text by Baron vom 
Hagen, with airs, recitatives and choruses composed by Neefe; 
that the "Deserteur" was in the list, and finally Hiller's "Jagd." 
In June, 1781, the season being over, the company migrated to 
Pyrmont, from Pyrmont to Cassel, and thence, in October, back 
to Bonn. 

The season of 1781-'82 was a busy one; of musical dramas 
alone 17 are reported as newly rehearsed from September, 1781, 
to the same time in 1782, viz: 



"Die Liebe unter den Handwerkern" 

("L'Amore Artigiano") Music 

"Robert und Calliste" 

"Der Alchymist" : 

"Das tartarische Gesetz" 

"Der eifersiichtige Liebhaber" 

("L'Amantjaloux") 

"Der Hausfreund" 

(;'L'Ami de la Maison") 

"Die Freundschaft auf der Probe" 

("L'Amitie a rfipreuve") 

"Heinrich und Lyda" 

"Die Apotheke" 

"Eigensinn und Launen der Liebe" 

"Romeo und Julie" 

"Sophonisba" (Deklamation mit Musik) 

"Lucille" 

"Milton und Elmire" 

"Die Samnitische Vermahlungsfeier" 

("Le Marriage des Samnites") 

"Ernst und Lucinde" 

"Gunther von Schwarzburg" 



by Gassmann 
Guglielmi 
Schuster. 
d'Antoine (of Bonn) 

Gretry 

Gretry 

Gretry 

Neefe 

Neefe 

Deler (Teller, Deller.?) 

Benda 

Neefe 

Gretry 

Mihl (or Muhle) 

Gretry 
Gretry 
Holzbauer 



It does not follow, however, that all these operas, operettas 
and plays with music were produced during the season in Bonn. 
The company followed the Elector to Miinster in June, 1782, and 
removed thence to PYankfort-on-the-Main for its regular series 
of performances at Michaelmas. It came back to Bonn in the 
Autumn. 

'J'he season 1782-'83 was as active as the preceding. Some 
of the newly rehearsed sjjoken drainas were "Sir John Falstaff," 
from tlie English, translations of Sheridan's "School for Scandal," 
Shakespeare's "Lear," and "Richard III," Mrs. Cowley's "Who's 
the Dupe?" and, of original German plays, Schiller's "Fiesco" 
and "Die Ran her," Lessing's "Miss Sara Sampson," Schroeder's 
''Testament," etc., etc. The number of newlv rehearsed nmsical 



32 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

dramas — in which class are included such ballad operas as General 
Burgoyne's "Maid of the Oaks" — reached twenty, viz: 

"Das Rosenfest" Music by Wolf (of Weimar) 

"Azalia" " " Johann Kuchler 

(Bassoonist in the 
Bonn chapel) 

"Die Sklavin" {La Schiava) " " Piccini 

"Zemire et Azor" " " Gretry 

"Das Madchen im Eichthale" " " 

("Maid of the Oaks") " " d'Antoine (Captain 

in the army of the 
Elector of Cologne) 

"Der Kaufmann von Smyrna" " " J. A. Juste (Court 

Musician in The 
Hague) 

"Die seidenen Schuhe" " " Alexander Frizer (or 

Fridzeri) 

"Die Reue vor der That" " " Desaides 

"Der Aerndtetanz" " " J. A. Hiller 

"Die Olympischen Spiele" (Olympiade) " " Sacchini 

"Die LUgnerin aus Liebe" " " Salieri 

"Die Italienerin zu London" " " Cimarosa 

"Das gute Madchen" (La huonafigliuola) " " Piccini 

*'Der Antiquitaten-Sammler" " " Andre 

"Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail" " " Mozart 

"Die Eifersucht auf der Probe" 

(7/ Geloso in Cimento) " " Anfossi 

"Rangstreit und Eifersucht auf dem 

Lande" (Le Gelosie villane) " " Sarti 

"Unverhofft kommt oft" {Les £vene- 

ments imprevus) " " Gretry 

"Fehx, Oder der Findling" (Felix ou 

r Enfant trouve) " " Monsigny 

"Die Pilgrimme von Mekka" " " Gluck 

But a still farther provision has been made for the Elector's 
amusement during the season of 1783-'84, by the engagement of 
a ballet corps of eighteen persons. The titles of five newly re- 
hearsed ballets are given in the report from which the above 
particulars are taken, and which may be found in the theatrical 
calendar for 1784. 

With an enlarged company and a more extensive repertory, 
preparations were made for opening the theatre upon the Elector's 
return, at the end of October, from Miinster to Bonn. But the 
relations of the company to the court have been changed. Let 
the "Theater-Kalender" describe the new position in which the 
stage at Bonn was placed: 



An Influence on the Boy Beethoven 33 

Bonn. His Electoral Grace, by a special condescension, had gra- 
ciously determined to make the theatrical performances gratuitous and 
to that end has closed a contract with His Highness's Theatrical Director 
Grossmann according to which besides the theatre free of rent, the illum- 
ination and the orchestra he is to receive an annual subvention for the 
maintenance of the company. On His Highness's command there will 
be two or three performances weekly. By particular grace the director 
is permitted to spend several summer months in other places. 

The advantages of this plan for securing a good repertory, 
a good company and a zealous striving for improvement are ob- 
vious; and its practical working during this, its only, season, so 
far as can now be gathered from scanty records, was a great suc- 
cess. It will hereafter be seen that the boy Ludwig van Beethoven 
was often employed at the pianoforte at the rehearsals — possibly 
also at the performances of the company of which Neefe was the 
musical director. That a company consisting almost exclusively 
of performers who had passed the ordeal of frequent appearance 
on the stage and had been selected with full knowledge of the 
capacity of each, and which, moreover, had gained so much success 
at the Bonn court as to be put upon a permanent footing, must 
have been one of more than the ordinary, average excellence, at 
least in light opera, needs no argument. Nor need comments 
be made upon the influence which daily intercourse with it, and 
sharing in its labors, especially in the direction of opera, must 
have exerted upon the mind of a boy of twelve or thirteen years 
possessed of real musical genius. 

The theatrical season, and with it the company, came to an 
untimely end. Belderbusch died in January, 1784. Madame 
Grossmann died. in childbed on March 28, and on April 15 
the Elector followed them to another world. After the death 
of the Elector Maximilian Friedrich the Court Theatre was closed 
for the oflBcial mourning and the company dismissed with four 
weeks' salary. 

It is consonant to the plan of this introductory chapter that 
some space be devoted to sketches of some of the j)rincipal 
men wliose names have already occurred and to some notes upon 
the musical amateurs of Bonn who are known, or may be supposed, 
to have been friends of the boy Beethoven. These notices make 
no claim to the credit of being the result of original research; they 
are, except that of Neefe, little more than extracts from a letter, 
dated March 2, 1783, written by Neefe and printed in Cramer's 
"Magazin der Musik" (Vol. I, pp. 337 ei scq.). At that time the 
"Capelldirector," as Neefe calls him, was Cajetano Mattioli, 



34 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

born at Venice, August 7, 1750, whose appointments were con- 
certmaster and musical director in Bonn, made on May 26, 1774 
and April 24, 1777. 

He studied in Parma, says Neefe, with the first vioHnist Angelo 
Moriggi, a pupil of Tartini, and in Parma, Mantua and Bologna con- 
ducted grand operas like "Orfeo," "Alceste," etc., by the Chevalier Gluck 
with success. He owed much to the example set by Gluck in the matter 
of conducting. It must be admitted that he is a man full of fire, of 
lively temperament and fine feeling. He penetrates quickly into the 
intentions of a composer and knows how to convey them promptly and 
clearly to the entire orchestra. He was the first to introduce accentua- 
tion, instrumental declamation, careful attention to forte and piano, 
or all the degrees of light and shade in the orchestra of this place. In 
none of the qualifications of a leader is he second to the famed Cannabich 
of Mannheim. He surpasses him in musical enthusiasm, and, like him, 
insists upon discipline and order. Through his efforts the musical reper- 
tory of this court has been provided with a very considerable collection 
of good and admirable compositions, symphonies, masses and other 
works, to which he makes daily additions; in the same manner he is 
continually striving for the betterment of the orchestra. Just now he 
is engaged in a project for building a new organ for the court chapel. 
The former organ, a magnificent instrument, became a prey of the flames 
at the great conflagration in the palace in 1777. His salary is 1,000 fl. 

The chapelmaster (appointed May 26, 1774) was Mr. Andrea 
Lucchesi, born May 28, 1 74 1 , at Motta in Venetian territory. His teachers 
in composition were, in the theatre style, Mr. Cocchi of Naples; in 
the church style, Father Paolucci, a pupil of Padre Martini at Bologna, 
and afterwards Mr. Seratelli, Chapelmaster of the Duke of Venice. He 
is a good organist and occupied himself profitably with the instrument 
in Italy. He came here with Mr. Mattioli as conductor of an Italian 
opera company in 1771. Taken altogether he is a light, pleasing and 
gay composer whose part-writing is cleaner than that of most of his 
countrymen. In his church-works he does not confine himself to the 
strict style affected by many to please amateurs. Neefe enumerates 
Lucchesi's compositions as follows: 9 works for the theatre, among 
them the opera "L'Isola defla Fortuna" (1765), "II Marito geloso" (1766), 
"Le Donne sempre Donne," "11 Matrimonio per astuzia" (1771) for 
Venice, and the two composed at Bonn, "II Natal di Giove" and "L'in- 
ganno scoperto," various intermezzi and cantatas; various masses, 
vespers and other compositions for the church; six sonatas for the piano- 
forte and violin; a pianoforte trio, four pianoforte quartets and several 
pianoforte concertos. His salary was 1,000 fl. 

The organist of the Court Chapel was Christian Gottlob 
Neefe, son of a poor tailor of Chemnitz in Saxony, where he was 
born February 5, 1748. He is one of the many instances in musical 
history in which the career of the man is determined by the beauty 
of his voice in childhood. At a very early age he became a 
chorister in the principal church, which position gave him the 



Christian Gottlob Neefe's Career S5 

best school and musical instruction that the small city afforded — 
advantages so wisely improved as to enable him in early youth 
to gain a living by teaching. At the age of 21, with 20 thalers in 
his pocket and a stipend of 30 tlialers per annum from the magis- 
trates of Chemnitz, he removed to Leipsic to attend the lectures 
of the university, and at that institution in the course of time he 
passed his examination in jurisprudence. Upon this occasion he 
argued the negative of the question: "Has a father the right to 
disinherit a son for devoting himself to the theatre?" In Chem- 
nitz Neefe's teachers in music had been men of small talents and 
very limited acquirements, and even in Leipsic he owed more 
to his persevering study of the theoretical works of Marpurg and 
C. P. E. Bach than to any regular instructor. But there he had 
the very great advantage of forming an intimate acquaintance 
with, and becoming an object of special interest to, Johann Adam 
Hiller, the celebrated director of the Gewandhaus Concerts, the 
then popular and famous composer, the introducer of Handel's 
"Messiah" to the German public, the industrious writer upon 
music, and finally a successor of Johann Sebastian Bach as Cantor 
of the Thomas School. Hiller gave him every encouragement in 
his power in his musical career; opened the columns of his musical 
"Wochentliche Nachrichten" to his compositions and writings; 
called him to his assistance in operatic composition; gave him 
the results of his long experience in friendly advice; criticized his 
compositions, and at length, in 1777, gave him his own position 
as music director of Seyler's theatrical company, then playing at 
the Linkische Bad in Dresden. Upon the departure of that troupe 
for Frankfort-on-the-Main, Neefe was persuaded to remain with 
it in the same capacity. He thus became acquainted with Friiu- 
lein Zinck, previously court singer at Gotha but now engaged for 
Seyler's opera. The acquaintance ripened into a mutual affec- 
tion and ended in marriage not long afterward. It is no slight 
testimony to the high reputation which he enjoyed that at the 
moment of Seyler's flight from Frankfort (1779) Bondini, whose 
success had driven that rival from Dresden, was in correspondence 
with Neefe and making him |)roposaIs to resign his ])osition under 
Seyler for a similar but better one in his service. Pending the 
result of these negotiations Neefe, taking his wife with him, 
temporarily joined Grossmann and Helmuth at Bonn in the same 
cai)acity. Those managers, wlio knew the value of his services 
from their previous experience as members of the Seyler troupe, 
paid a very strong, though involuntary, tribute to his talents and 
personal character by ado|)ting such unfair measures as to compel 



36 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

the musician to remain in Bonn until Bondini was forced to fill 
his vacancy by another candidate. Having once got him, Gross- 
mann was determined to keep him — and succeeded. 

As long as the Grossmann company remained undivided 
Neefe accompanied it in its annual visits to Miinster and other 
places; — thus the sketch of his life printed sixteen years later in 
the first volume of the "Allgemeine Musikzeitung" of Leipsic 
bears date "Frankfort-on-the-Main, September 30, 1782"; but 
from that period save, perhaps, for a short time in 1783, he seems 
not to have left Bonn at all. 

There were others besides Grossmann and Helmuth who 
thought Neefe too valuable an acquisition to the musical circles 
of Bonn not to be secured. Less than a year and a half after his 
arrival there the minister Belderbusch and the countess Hatzfeld, 
niece of the Elector, secured to him, though a Protestant, an 
appointment to the place of court organist. The salary of 400 
florins, together with the 700 florins from Grossmann, made his 
income equal to that of the court chapelmaster. It is difficult 
now to conceive of the forgotten name of C. G. Neefe as having 
once stood high in the list of the first North German composers; 
yet such was the case. Of Neefe's published compositions, besides 
the short vocal and clavier pieces in Killer's periodical, there 
had already appeared operettas in vocal score, "Die Apotheke" 
(1772), "Amor's Guckkasten" (1772), "Die Einspruche" (1773) 
and "Heinrich und Lyda'* (1777); also airs composed for Hiller's 
"Dorf-Barbier" and one from his own republished opera "Zemire 
und Azor"; twelve odes of Klopstock — sharply criticized by 
Fork el in his "Musikalisch-Kritische Bibliothek," much to the 
benefit of the second edition of them; and a pretty long series of 
songs. Of instrumental music he had printed twenty-four sonatas 
for pianoforte solo or with violin; and from Breitkopf and Hartel's 
catalogues, 1772 and 1774, may be added the following works 
included neither in his own list nor that of Gerber: a partita for 
string quartet, 2 horns, 2 oboes, 2 flutes and 2 bassoons; another 
for the same instruments minus the flutes and bassoons; a third 
for the string quartet and 2 oboes only, and two symphonies for 
string quartet, 2 horns, 2 oboes and 2 flutes. The "Sophonisbe" 
music was also finished and twenty years later, after Mozart had 
given a new standard of criticism, it was warmly eulogized in the 
"Allgemeine Musikzeitung" of Leipsic. At the date of his letter 
to Cramer (March 2, 1783) he had added to his published works 
"Sechs Sonaten am Clavier zu singen," "Vademecum fiir Lieb- 
haber des Gesangs und Clavier," the clavier score of "Sophonisbe,'* 



Music in Private Houses of Bonn 37 

and a concerto for clavier and orchestra. His manuscripts, he adds 
(Cramer's "Magazine," I; p. 382), consist of (a) the scores of the 
operettas which had appeared in pianoforte arrangements; (b) the 
score of his opera "Zemire und Azor"; (c) the score of his opera 
"Adelheit von Veltheim"; (d) the score of a bardic song for the 
tragedy "The Romans in Germany"; (e) the scores of theatrical 
between-acts music; (f) the score of a Latin "Pater noster"; 
(g) various other smaller works. He had in hand the composition 
of the operetta "Der neue Gutsherr," the pianoforte score of 
which, as also that of "Adelheit von Veltheim," was about to be 
published by Dyck in Leipsic. A year before at a concert for 
amateurs at the house of Mr. von Mastiaux he had produced an 
ode by Klopstock, "Dem Unendlichen," for four chorus voices 
and a large orchestra, which was afterwards performed in Holy 
Week in the Frduleinsiiftskirche. In short, Neefe brought to 
Bonn a high-sounding reputation, talent, skill and culture both 
musical and literary, which made him invaluable to the managers 
when new French and Italian operas were to be prepared for the 
German stage; great facility in throwing off a new air, song, 
entr'acte or what not to meet the exigencies of the moment; very 
great industry, a cacoethes scribendi of the very highest value to 
the student of Bonn's musical history in his time and a new element 
into the musical life there. This element may have seemed some- 
what formal and pedantic, but it was solid, for it was drawn from 
the school of Handel and Bach. 

Let us return to Neefe's letter to Cramer again for some 
notices of music outside the electoral palace: 

Belderbusch, the minister, retained a quintet of wind-instruments, 
2 clarinets, 2 horns and a bassoon. 

The Countess von Belderbusch, wife of a nephew of the minister, 
whose name will come up again, "plays skilfully upon the clavier." 

The Countess von Hatzfeld, niece of the Elector, was "trained in 
singing and clavier playing by the best masters of Vienna to whom, 
indeed, she does very much honor. She declaims recitatives admirably 
and it is a pleasure to listen to her sing arias di parlante. She plays the 
fortepiano brilliantly and in playing yields herself up completely to her 
emotions, wherefore one never hears any restlessness or uneveness of 
time in her tempo rubato. She is enthusiastically devoted to music 
and musicians."' 

('hancellor and Captain von Schall "plays clavier and violin. 
Though not adept on either instrument he has very correct musical 
feeling. Tie knows how to api)reciate the true beauties of a composition, 
and how to judge them, and has large historical and literary knowledge 
of music." 

*To her Beethoven dedicated hia variations on "Venni Amore." 



38 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Frau Court Councillor von Belzer "plays the clavier and sings. She 
has a strong, masculine contralto of wide range, particularly downwards." 

Joliann Gottfried von Mastiaux, of the Finance Department and 
incumbent of divers high offices, is a self-taught musician. He plays 
several instruments himself and has given his four sons and a daughter 
the best musical instruction possible in Bonn. All are pianists and so 
many of them performers on other instruments that the production of 
quintets is a common family enjoyment. He is a devoted admirer of 
Haydn, with whom he corresponds, and in his large collection of music 
there are already 80 symphonies, 30 quartets and 40 trios by that master. 
His rare and valuable instruments are so numerous "that he could almost 
equip a complete orchestra. Every musician is his friend and welcome 
to him." 

Count Altstadter: "in his house one may at times hear a very 
good quartet." 

Captain Dantoine, "a passionate admirer and knower of music; 
plays the violin and the clavier a little. He learned composition from 
the books of Marpurg, Kirnberger and Riepel. Formed his taste in 
Italy, In both respects the reading of scores by classical masters has 
been of great service to him." Among his compositions are several 
operettas, symphonies and quartets "in Haydn's style." 

The three Messrs. Facius, "sons of the Russian agent here, are 
soundly musical; the two elder play the flute and the youngest plays 
the violoncello." (According to Fischer the members of this family 
were visitors at the house of the Beethovens.) 

There are many more music-lovers here, but the majority of them 
are too much given to privacy, so far as their musical practice goes, to 
be mentioned here. Enough has been said to show that a stranger 
fond of music need never leave Bonn without nourishment. Neverthe- 
less, a large public concert institution under the patronage of His Electoral 
Grace is still desirable. It would be one more ornament of the capital 
and a promoter of the good cause of music. 

What with the theatre, the court music, the musical pro- 
ductions in the church and such opportunities in private it is 
plain that young talent in those days in Bonn was in no danger of 
starvation for want of what Neefe calls "musikalische Nahrung." 

So much upon the dramatis personce, other than the principal 
figure and liis family. Let an attempt follow to describe the 
little city as it appeared in 1770 — in other words, to picture the 
scene. By an enumeration made in 1789, the population of 
Bonn was 9,560 souls, a number which probably for a long series 
of years had rarely varied beyond a few score, more or less — one, 
therefore, that must very nearly represent the aggregate in 1770. 
For the town had neither manufactures nor commerce beyond 
what its own wants supported; it was simply the residence of the 
Elector — the seat of the court, and the people depended more or 
less directly upon that court for subsistence — as a wag expressed 



A Prospect of Bonn in Beethoven's Day 39 

it, "all Bonn was fed from the Elector's kitchen." The old city 
walls — (the "gar gute Fortification, dass der Churfiirst sicher 
genug darinnen Hof halten kann" of Johann Hiibner's description) 
— were already partially destroyed. "SYithin them the whole 
population seems to have lived. Outside the city gates it does 
not appear that, save by a chapel or two, the eye was impeded 
in its sweep across gardens and open fields to the surrounding 
villages which, then as now hidden in clusters of walnut and 
fruit trees, appeared, when looked upon from the neighboring 
hills, like islands rising upon tlie level surface of the plain. The 
great increase of wealth and population during the last 150 years 
in all this part of the Rhine valley under the influence of the wise 
national economy of the Prussian government, has produced 
corresponding changes in and about the towns and villages; but 
the grand features of the landscape are unchanged; the ruins 
upon the Drachenfels and Godesberg looked down, as now, upon 
the distant roofs and spires of Bonn; the castle of Siegburg rose 
above the plains away to the East; the chapel crowned the Peters- 
berg, the church with the marble stairs the nearer Kreuzberg. 

The fine landing place with its growing trees and seats for 
idlers, the villas, hotels, coffee-houses and dwellings outside the 
old walls, are all recent; but the huge ferryboat, the "flying 
bridge," even then was ever swinging like a pendulum from shore 
to shore. Steam as a locomotive power was unknown, and the 
commerce of the Rhine floated by the town, gliding down with 
the current on rafts or in clumsy but rather picturesque boats, 
or impelled against the stream by the winds, by horses and even 
by men and women. The amount of traffic was not, however, 
too great to be amply provided for in this manner; for population 
was kept down by war, by the hard and rude life of the peasant 
class, and by the influences of all the false national-economic 
principh's of that age, which restrained commerce by every device 
that could l>e made to yield present profit to the rulers of the 
Rhine lands. Passengers had, for generations, no longer been 
plundered by mail-clad robbers dwelling upon a hundred pictur- 
esque heights; but each petty state had gained from tlie Em- 
peror's weakness "vested rights" in all sorts of custom-levies 
and taxes. Risbeck (1780) found nine toll-stations between INIay- 
ence and Coblenz; and thence to the l)oundary of Holland, he 
declares there were at least sixteen, and that in the average each 
must have coUeftcd '50,000 Rlienish florins per annum. 

To the stranger, coming down from Mayencc, with its narrow 
dark lanes, or up from Cologne, whose confined and pestiferously 



40 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

dirty streets, emitting unnamed stenches, were but typical of 
the bigotry, superstition and moral filth of the population — all 
now happily changed, thanks to a long period of French and 
Prussian rule — little Bonn seemed a very picture of neatness 
and comfort. Even its ecclesiastical life seemed of another order. 
The men of high rank in the church were of high rank also by 
birth; they were men of the world and gentlemen; their manners 
were polished and their minds enlarged by intercourse with the 
world and with gentlemen; they were tolerant in their opinions 
and liberal in their views. Ecclesiastics of high and low de- 
gree were met at every corner as in other cities of the Rhine 
region; but absence of military men was a remarkable feature. 
Johann Hiibner gives the reason for this in few and quaint words : 
— "In times of war much depends upon who is master of Bonn, 
because traflBc on the Rhine can be blockaded at this pass. There- 
fore the place has its excellent fortification which enables the 
Elector to hold his court in ample security within its walls. But 
he need not maintain a garrison there in time of peace, and in time 
of war troops are garrisoned who have taken the oath to the 
Emperor and the empire. This was settled by the peace of 
Ryswick as well as Rastatt." 

While the improvement in the appearance of the streets of 
Bonn has necessarily been great, through the refitting or rebuild- 
ing of a large portion of the dwelling-houses, the plan of the town, 
except in those parts lying near the wall, has undergone no essen- 
tial change, the principal one being the open spaces, where in 
1770 churches stood. On the small triangular Romer-Platz was 
the principal parish church of Bonn, that of St. Remigius, stand- 
ing in such a position that its tall tower looked directly down the 
Acherstrasse. In 1800 this tower was set on fire by lightning 
and destroyed; six years later the church itself was demolished 
by the French and its stones removed to become a part of the 
fortifications at Wesel. On the small, round grass plot as one 
goes from the Miinster church toward the neighboring city gate 
(Neuthor) stood another parish church — a rotunda in form — that 
of St. Martin, which fell in 1812 and was removed; and at the 
opposite end of the minster, separated from it only by a narrow 
passage, was still a third, the small structure dedicated to St. 
Gangolph. This, too, was pulled down in 1806. Only the fourth 
parish church, that of St. Peter in Dietkirchen, is still in existence 
and was, at a later date, considerably enlarged. After the demoli- 
tion of these buildings a new division of the town into parishes 
was made (1806). 



Holiday Times in the Little City 41 

The city front of the electoral palace, now the university, 
was more imposing than now, and was adorned by a tall, hand- 
some tower containing a carillon, with bells numerous enough to 
play, for instance, the overture to Monsigny's "Deserter." This 
part of the palace, with the tower and chapel, was destroyed by 
fire in 1777. 

The town hall, erected by Clemens August, and the other 
churches were as now, but the large edifice facing the university 
library and museum of casts, now occupied by private dwellings 
and shops, was then the cloister and church of the Franciscan 
monks. A convent of Capuchin nuns stood upon the Kessel- 
gasse; its garden is now a bleaching ground. 

Let the fancy picture, upon a fine Easter or Pentecost morning 
in those years, the little city in its holiday attire and bustle. The 
bells in palace and church tower ringing; the peasants in coarse 
but picturesque garments, the women abounding in bright colors, 
come in from the surrounding villages, fill the market-place and 
crowd the churches at the early masses. The nobles and gentry 
— in broad-flapped coats, wide waistcoats and knee-breeches, 
the entire dress often of brilliant colored silks, satins and velvets, 
huge, white, flowing neckcloths, ruffles over the hands, buckles 
of silver or even of gold at the knees and upon the shoes, huge 
wigs becurled and bepowdered on the heads, and surmounted by 
the cocked hat, when not held under the arm, a sword at the side, 
and commonly a gold-headed cane in the hand (and if the morn- 
ing be cold, a scarlet cloak thrown over the shoulders) — are daintily 
picking their way to the palace to kiss His Transparency's hand or 
dashing up to the gates in heavy carriages with white wigged and 
cocked-hatted coachmen and footmen. Their ladies wear long 
and narrow bodices, but their robes flow with a mighty sweep; 
their apparent stature is increased by very high-heeled shoes and 
by piling up their hair on lofty cushions; their sleeves are short, 
but long silk gloves cover the arms. The ecclesiastics, various in 
name and costume, dress as now, save in the matter of the flowing 
wig. Tha Elector's company of guards is out and at intervals 
the thunder of the artillery on the walls is heard. On all sides, 
strong and l)rilliant contrasts of color meet the eye, velvet and 
silk, purf)le and fine linen, gold and silver — such were the fashions 
of the time — costly, inconvenient in form, l)ut imposing, mag- 
nificent and marking the differences of rank and class. Let the 
imagination pirtiire all tliis, and it will have a scene familiar to 
the boy Beethoven, and one in whicli as he grew up to manhood 
he had his own small part to play. 



Chapter II 



The Ancestral van Beethoven Family in Belgium — Removal 
of the Grandfather to Bonn — His Activities as Singer 
and Chapelmaster — Birth and Education of Johann 
van Beethoven — ^The Parents of the Composer. 

AT the beginning of the seventeenth century a family named 
van Beethoven lived in a village of Belgium near Louvain, 
A member of it removed to and settled in Antwerp about 
1650. A son of this Beethoven, named William, a wine dealer, 
married, September 11, 1680, Catherine Grandjean and had issue, 
eight children. One of them, baptized September 8, 1683, in the 
parish of Notre Dame, now received the name Henry Adelard, his 
sponsors being Henry van Beethoven, acting for Adelard de Re- 
dincq, Baron de Rocquigny, and Jacqueline Grandjean. This Henry 
Adelard Beethoven, having arrived at man's estate, took to wife 
Maria Catherine de Herdt, who bore him twelve children — the 
third named Louis, the twelfth named Louis Joseph. The latter, 
baptized December 9, 1728, married, November 3, 1773, Maria 
Theresa Schuerweghs, and died November 11, 1808, at Ooster- 
wyck. The second daughter, named like her mother Maria 
Theresa, married, September 6, 1808, Joseph Michael Jacobs and 
became the mother of Jacob Jacobs, in the middle of the nine- 
teenth century a professor of painting in Antwerp, who supplied 
in part the materials for these notices of the Antwerp Beethovens, 
although the principal credit is due to M. Leon de Burbure of 
that city.^ 

The certificate of baptism of Louis van Beethoven, third 
son of Henry Adelard, is to this effect: 

Antwerp, December 23, 1712 — Baptizatus, Ludovicus. 
Parents: Henricus van Beethoven and Maria Catherine de 
Hert. 

^In Fetis' "Biographie universelle" (new ed.) several of these names are mis- 
printed. They are corrected here from Mr. Jacobs' letter to A. W. T. 

[42] 



The Composer's Belgian Ancestry 43 

'»■ 

Sponsors: Petrus Bellmaert and Dymphona van Beethoven. 

It is a family tradition — Prof. Jacobs heard it from his mother 
— that this Louis van Beethoven, owing to some domestic diflB- 
culties (according to M. Burbure they were financial), secretly 
left his father's house at an early age and never saw it again, 
although in later years an epistolary correspondence seems to 
have been established between the fugitive and his parents. 
Gifted with a good voice and well educated musically, he went 
to Louvain and applied for a vacant position as tenor to the 
chapter ad Sanctum Petrum, receiving it on November 2, 1731.^ 
A few days later the young man of 18 years was appointed sub- 
stitute for three months for the singing master {Phonascus), who 
had fallen ill, as is attested by the minutes of the Chapter, under 
date November 2, 1731.2 

The young singer does not seem to have filled the place 
beyond the prescribed time. By a decree of Elector Clemens 
August, dated March, 1733 (the month of Joseph Haydn's birth), 
he became Court Musician in Bonn with a salary of 400 florins, 
a large one for those days, particularly in the case of a young man 
who only three months before had completed his 20th year. 
Allowing the usual year of probation to which candidates for the 
court chapel were subjected, Beethoven must have come to Bonn 
in 1732. This corresponds to the time spent at Louvain as well 
as to a petition of 1774, to be given hereafter, in which Johann 
speaks of his father's "42 years of service." There is another 
paper of date 1784 which makes the elder Beethoven to have 
served about 46 years, but this is from another hand and of less 
authority than that written by the son. 

What it was that persuaded Ludwig van Beethoven to go 
to Bonn is unknown. Gottfried Fischer, who owned the house 
in tlie Rheingasse in which two generations of Beethovens lived, 
professed to know that Elector Clemens August learned to know 
him as a good singer at Liege and for that reason called him to 

'Thayer's account of this period in llic life of Beethoven's grandfather has here 
been extended from an article by the ( lurvalier L. de Hurl)ure, pul)lished in tlie "IJio- 
graphie nationale publiee par rAeadernie Hoyale des sciences, des lettrcs et dcs beaux 
arts de Belgique." Tome II. p. 105. (Brussels, IHOH.) From this it further appears 
that two other members of the Antwerp branch of the family were devoted to the fine 
arts, viz.: Peter van Beethoven, j)aintrr. |)iipil of Abr. (Jcnoel, jr., and (lerhard van 
Beethoven, sculptor, acreplcfl in Iht; nm\<\ of St. Luke about 171 S, Director Vollmer. 
of Brussels, in a communication tf) Dr. Dcil.rs ^'ave information of a branch of the 
family in Mechlin and of still another in Brabant when-, in the viliafce of Wanibeke. 
there was a cure van lieethoven who must either have died or been transferred 
between 17^9 and 1732. 

*The original entry is printed in full in the German edition of this biography. 



44 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Bonn, That is not impossible, whether the Elector went to Lpu- 
vain or Ludwig introduced himself to him at Liege. But it is 
significant that another branch of the Beethoven family was 
already represented at Bonn. Michael van Beethoven was born 
in Malines in February, 1684. He was a son of Cornelius van 
Beethoven and Catherine Leempoel, and beyond doubt, as the 
later associations in Bonn prove, closely related to the Antwerp 
branch of the family. Michael van Beethoven married Maria 
Ludovica Stuykers (or Stuykens) on October 8, 1707. His eldest 
son also bore the name of Cornelius (born in September, 1708, in 
Malines) and there were four other sons born to him during his stay 
in Malines, among them two who were named Louis, up to 1715. 
At a date which is uncertain, this family removed to Bonn. There 
Cornelius, on February 20, 1734, ma.rried a widow named Helena 
de la Porte (nee Calem), in the church of St. Gan^olph, Ludwig 
van Beethoven, the young court singer, being one of the witnesses. 
In August of the same year Cornelius was proxy for his father 
(who, evidently, had not yet come to Bonn), as godfather for 
Ludwig's first child. Later, after his son had established a house- 
hold, he removed to Bonn, for Michael van Beethoven died in 
June, 1749, in Bonn, and in December of the same year Maria 
Ludovica Stuykens (sic), "the Widow van Beethoven." Corne- 
lius became a citizen of Bonn on January 17, 1736, on the ground 
that he had married the widow of a citizen, and in 1738 he stands 
alone as representative of the name in the list of Bonn's citizens. 
He seems to have been a merchant, and is probably the man who 
figures in the annual accounts of Clemens August as purveyor 
of candles. He lost his wife, and for a second married Anna 
Barbara Marx, virgo, on July 5, 1755, who bore him two daughters 
(1756 and 1759), both of whom died young and for both of whom 
Ludwig van Beethoven was sponsor. Cornelius died in 1764 and 
his wife in 1765, and with this the Malines branch of the family 
ended. Which one of the two cousins (for so we may in a general 
way consider them) came to Bonn, Ludwig or Cornelius, must be 
left to conjecture. There is evidence in favor of the former in 
the circumstance that Cornelius does not appear as witness at 
the marriage of Ludwig in 1733. If Ludwig was the earlier 
arrival, then the story of his call by the Elector may be true; he 
was not disappointed in his hope of being able to make his way 
by reason of his knowledge of music and singing. 

The next recorded fact in his history may be seen in the 
ancient register of the parish of St. Remigius, now preserved in 
the town hall of Bonn. It is the marriage on September 7, 1733, 



Other Beethoven Families in Bonn 45 

of Ludwig van Beethoven and Maria Josepha Poll, the husband 
not yet 21 years of age, the wife 19. Then follows in the records 
of baptisms in the parish: 

1734, August 8. 

Parents: Baptized: Sponsors: 

Ludwig van Beethoven, Maria Maria Bernardina Menz, 

Maria Josepha Poll. Bernardina Michael van Beethoven; 

Ludovica. in his place Cornelius van 
Beethoven. 

The child Bernardina died in infancy, October 17, 1735. Her 
place was soon filled by a son, Marcus Josephus, baptized April 
15, 1736, of whom the parents were doubtless early bereaved, for 
no other notice whatever has been found of him. After the lapse 
of some four years the childless pair again became parents, by 
the birth of a son, whose baptismal record has not been discovered. 
It is supposed that this child, Johann, was baptized in the Court 
Chapel, the records of which are not preserved in the archives 
of the town and seem to be lost; or that, possibly, he was born 
while the mother was absent from Bonn. An official report upon 
the condition and characters of the court musicians made in 1784, 
however, gives Johann van Beethoven born in Bonn and aged 
forty-four — thus fixing the date of his birth towards the end of 
1739 or the beginning of 1740. 

The gradual improvement of the elder Beethoven's condition 
in respect of both emolument and social position, is creditable to 
him alike as a musician and as a man. Poorly as the musicians 
were paid, he was able in his last years to save a small portion of 
his earnings; his rise in social position is indicated in the public 
records; — thus, the first child is recorded as the son of L. v. Beet- 
hoven "musicus"; as sponsor to tlie eldest daughter of Cornelius 
van Beethoven, he appears as "Dominus" van Beethoven; — to the 
second as "Musicus Aulicus"; in 1761 he becomes *'Herr Kapell- 
meister," and his name appears in the Court Calendar of the 
same year, third in a list of twenty-eight "Hommes de chambre 
honoraires." Of the elder Beethoven's appointment as head of 
the court music no other particulars have been obtained than 
those to be found in his petition and the accompanying decree 
printed in C]iaj)t('r I. From these papers it appears that the 
bass singer has had the i)roniise of the })Iace from Clemens August 
as successor to Zudoli, but that the Elector, when the vacancy 
occurred, changed his mind and gave it to his favorite young 



46 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

violinist Touchemoulin, who held the position for so short a time, 
however, that his name never appears as chapelmaster in the 
Court Calendar, he having resigned on account of the reduction 
of his salary by Belderbusch, prime minister of the new Elector 
who just at that period succeeded Clemens August. The eleva- 
tion of a singer to such a place was not a very uncommon event 
in tliose days, but that a chapelmaster should still retain his 
place as singer probably was. Hasse and Graun began their 
careers as vocalists, but more to the point are the instances of 
Steffani, Handel's predecessor at the court of Hanover, and of 
Righini, successively chapelmaster at Mayence and Berlin. In 
all these cases the incumbents were distinguished and very success- 
ful composers. Beethoven was not. Wegeler's words, "the 
chapelmaster and bass singer had at an earher date produced 
operas at the National Theatre established by the Elector," have 
been rather interpreted than quoted by Schindler and others 
thus: "it is thought that under the luxury-loving Elector Clemens 
August, he produced operas of his own composition" — a con- 
struction which is clearly forced and incorrect. Strange that so 
few writers can content themselves with exact citations! Not 
only is there no proof whatever, certainly none yet made public, 
that Chapelmaster van Beethoven was an author of operatic 
works, but the words in his own petition, "inasmuch as the 
Toxal must be sufficiently supplied with musique," can hardly 
be otherwise understood than as intended to meet a possible 
objection to his appointment on the ground of his not being a 
composer. Wegeler's words, then, would simply mean that he 
put upon the stage and conducted the operatic works produced, 
which were neither numerous nor of a very high order during his 
time. His labors were certainly onerous enough without adding 
musical composition. The records of the electoral court which 
have been described and in part reproduced in the preceding 
chapter, exhibit him conducting the music of chapel, theatre and 
"Toxal," examining candidates for admission into the electoral 
musical service, reporting upon questions referred to him by the 
privy council and the like, and all this in addition to his services 
as bass singer, a position which gave him the principal bass parts 
and solos to sing both in chapel and theatre. Wegeler records 
a tradition that in Gassmann's operetta "L'Amore Artigiano" 
and Monsigny's "Deserteur" he was "admirable and received 
the highest applause." If this be true it proves no small degree 
of enterprise on his part as chapelmaster and of well-conserved 
powers as a singer; for these two operas were first produced, the 



CHAPELiL\STER VAX BeETHOVEN's TrIALS 47 

one in Vienna, the other in Paris, in 1769, when Beethoven had 
alreadv entered his fiftv-eighth vear. 

The words of Demmer in his petition of January 23, 1773, 
"the bass singer van Beethoven is incapacitated and can no longer 
serve as such," naturally suggest the thought that the old gentle- 
man's appearance as Brunoro in Lucchesi's "L'Inganno scoperto" 
in May, 1773, was a final compHment to his master, the Elector, 
upon his birthday. He did not live to celebrate another; the 
death of "Ludwig van Beethoven, Hoffkapellmeister," is recorded 
at Bonn under date of December 2-4, 1773 — one day after the 
sixty-first anniversary of his baptism in Antwerp. 

At home the good man had his cross to bear. His wife, 
Josepha, who with one exception had buried all her children, and 
possibly on that very account, became addicted to the indul- 
gence of an appetite for strong drink, was at the date of her 
husband's death living as a boarder in a cloister at Cologne. 
How long she had been there does not appear, but doubtless for 
a considerable period. The son, too, was married, but though 
near was not in his father's house. The separation was brought 
about by his marriage, with which the father was not agreed. 
The house in which the chapelmaster died, and which he occupied 
certainly as earlv as 1765, was that next north of the so-called 
Gudenauer Hof , later the post-office in the neighboring Bonngasse, 
and bore the number 386. The chapelmaster appears, upon 
pretty good evidence, to have removed hither from the Fischer 
house in the Rheingasse, where he is said to have lived many years 
and even to have carried on a trade in wine, which change of 
dwelling may have taken place in 1767. 

AVhen one recalls the imposing style of dress at the era the 
short, muscular man, with dark complexion and very bright eyes, 
as Wegeler describes him^ and as a painting by Courtpainter 
Radoux, still in possession of his descendants in Vienna, depicts 
him, presents quite an imposing picture to the imagination. 

Of the early life of Johann van Beethoven there are no par- 
ticulars preserved except such as are directly or indirectly con- 
veyed in the official documents. Such of these papers as came 
from his own hand, if judged by the standard of our time, show 
a want of ordinary education; but it must not be forgotten that 
the ortliography of the German language was not then fixed; 
nor that many a contemporary of liis, who lioastcd a university 

'"The granrlfather was a man short of statiiro. muscular, with cxtrcm»'Iy animated 
eyes, and was greatly respected as an artist."' Fischer's description is dilferent, but 
Wegeler is the more trustworthy witness of the two. 



48 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

education, or who belonged to the highest ranks of society, wrote 
in a style no better than his. This is certain: that after he had 
received an elementary education he was sent to the Gymnasium, 
for as a member of the lowest class (infima) of that institution he 
took part in September, 1750, as singer in the annual school play 
which it was the custom of the Musoe Bonnenses to give. It 
would seem, therefore, that his good voice and musical gifts were 
appreciated at an early period. Herein, probably, is also to be 
found the reason why his stay at the gymnasium was not of long 
duration. The father had set him apart for service in the court 
music, and himself, as appears from the statements already printed, 
undertook his instruction; he taught him singing and clavier 
playing. Whether or not he also taught him violin playing, in 
which he was "capable," remains uncertain. In 1752, at the 
age of 12, as can be seen from his petition of March, 1756, and his 
father's of 1764, he entered the chapel as soprano. According 
to Gottwald's report of 1756 he had served "about 2 years"; the 
contradiction is probably explained by an interruption caused by 
the mutation of his voice. At the age of 16, he received his 
decretum as "accessist" on the score of his skill in singing and 
his experience already acquired, including his capability on the 
violin, which was the basis of the decree of April 24, 1764, granting 
him a salary of 100 rth. per annum. 

So, at the age of 22, the young man received the promise 
of a salary, and at 24 obtained one of 100 thalers. In 1769, he 
received an increase of 25 fl., and 50 fl. more by the decree of 
April 3, 1772. He had, moreover, an opportunity to gain some- 
thing by teaching. Not only did he give lessons in singing and 
clavier playing to the children of prominent families of the city, 
but he also frequently was called on to prepare young musicians 
for service in the chapel. Thus Demmer, says the memorandum 
heretofore given, "paid 6 rth. to young Mr. Beethoven for 3 
months"; and a year later the following resolve of the privy 
council was passed: 

Ad Suppl. Joan Beethoven 

The demands of the suppliant having been found to be correct, 
the Electoral Treasury is commanded to satisfy the debt by the usual 
withdrawal of the sum from the salary of the defendant. 

Bonn, May 24, 1775. Attest. P. 

which probably refers to a debt contracted by one of the women 
of the court chapel. A few years later, as we have seen, he seems 



The Parents of the Composer 49 

to have been intrusted with the training of Johanna Helena 
Averdonck, whom he brought forward as his pupil in March, 1778, 
and the singer Gazzenello was his pupil before she went elsewhere. 
It was largely his own fault that the musically gifted man was 
unfortunate in both domestic and official relations. His intem- 
perance in drink, probably inherited from his mother but attribu- 
ted by old Fischer to the wine trade in which his father embarked, 
made itself apparent at an early date, and by yielding to it more 
and more as he grew older he undoubtedly impaired his voice and 
did much to bring about his later condition of poverty. How it 
finally led to a catastrophe we shall see later. According to the 
testimony of the widow Karth, he was a tall, handsome man, and 
wore powdered hair in his later years. Fischer does not wholly 
agree with her: "of medium height, longish face, broad forehead, 
round nose, broad shoulders, serious eyes, face somewhat scarred, 
thin pigtail." Three and a half years after obtaining his salary 
of 100 th. he ventured to marry. Heinrich Kewerich, the father 
of his wife, was head cook in that palace at Ehrenbreitstein in 
which Clemens danced himself out of this world, but he died before 
that event took place. ^ His wife, as the church records testify, 
was Anna Clara Daubach. Her daughter Maria Magdalena, 
born December 19, 1746, married a certain Johann Laym, valet 
of the Elector of Treves, on January 30, 1763. On November 
28, 1765, the husband died, and Maria Magdalena was a widow 
before she had completed her 19th year. In a little less than two 
years the marriage register of St. Remigius, at Bonn, was enriched 
by this entry: 

12ma dhria. Praevia Dispensations super 3hus dennntiationibus 
copulavi D. Joannem van Beethoven, Dni. Ludovici van Beethoven et 
Mariae Josephae Poll conjngum filium legitimum, et Mariam Magdalenam 
Keferich vidnam Leym ex Ehrenbreitstein, Ilenrici Keferich et annae clarae 
Westorffs filiarn legitiniam. Coram testibus Josepho clemente Belseruski 
et philippo Salomon. 

That is, Johann van Beethoven has married the young 
widow Laym. 

How it came that the marriage took place in Bonn instead of 
the home of the bride we are told by Fischer. Chnpchiiaster van 
Beethoven was not at all agreed tliat his son should marry a 

'Thechurch rcforcls at Ehrenbreitstein say that hedicd August i, 17.59. in Molzberg, 
at the afje of .5S; his funeral took place in Klircnhrcilstein. A Fran Kva Kalharina 
Kewerich, who cli<-d at Fihrenbrcitstein (jn October 10, 175.'J, at the age of 8U years, was 
probably his mother. 



50 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

woman of a lower station in life than his own. He did not continue 
his opposition against the fixed determination of his son; but it 
is to be surmised that he would not have attended a ceremony in 
Ehrenbreitstein, and hence the matter was disposed of quickly 
in Bonn. After the wedding the young pair paid a visit of a few 
days' duration to Ehrenbreitstein. 

Fischer describes Madame van Beethoven as a "handsome, 
slender person" and tells of her "rather tall, longish face, a nose 
somewhat bent (gehoffelt, in the dialect of Bonn), spare, earnest 
eyes." Cacilia Fischer could not recall that she had ever seen 
Madame van Beethoven laugh; "she was always serious." Her 
life's vicissitudes may have contributed to this disposition: — • 
the early loss of her father, and of her first husband, and the 
death of her mother scarcely more than a year after her second 
marriage. It is difficult to form a conception of her character 
because of the paucity of information about her. Wegeler lays 
stress upon her piety and gentleness; her amiability and kindliness 
towards her family appear from all the reports; nevertheless, 
Fischer betrays the fact that she could be vehement in contro- 
versies with the other occupants of the house. "Madame van 
Beethoven," Fisciier continues, "was a clever woman; she could 
give converse and reply aptly, politely and modestly to high and 
low, and for this reason she was much liked and respected. She 
occupied herself with sewing and knitting. They led a righteous 
and peaceful married life, and paid their house-rent and baker's 
bills promptly, quarterly, and on the day. She^ was a good, a 
domestic woman, she knew how to give and also how to take in a 
manner that is becoming to all people of honest thoughts." From 
this it is fair to assume that she strove to conduct her household 
judiciously and economically; whether or not this was always 
possible in view of the limited income, old Fischer does not seem 
to have been informed. She made the best she could of the 
weaknesses of her husband without having been able to influence 
him; her care for the children in externals was not wholly sufficient. 
Young Ludwig clung to her with a tender love, more than to the 
father, who was "only severe"; but there is nothing anywhere to 
indicate that she exerted an influence upon the emotional life 
and development of her son, and in respect of this no wrong will 
be done her if the lower order of her culture be taken into consider- 
ation. Nor must it be forgotten that in all probability she was 

^Some notes by Fischer contain the characteristic addition: "Madame van Beet- 
hoven once remarked that the most necessary things, such as house-rent, the baker, 
shoemaker and tailor must first be paid, but she would never pay drinking debts." 



Character of Mme. van Beethoven 51 

naturally delicate and that her health was still further weak- 
ened by her domestic troubles and frequent accouchements. 
The "quiet, suffering woman," as Madame Karth calls her, died 
in 1787 of consumption at the age of 40 years. Long years after 
in Vienna Beethoven was wont, when among his intimate friends, 
to speak of his "excellent" {vortrefflicJie) mother.^ 

At the time when Johann van Beethoven married, there was 
quite a colony of musicians, and other persons in the service of 
the court, in the Bonngasse, as that street is in part named which 
extends from the lower extremity of the market-place to the 
Cologne gate. Chapelmaste^ van Beethoven had left the house 
in the Rheingasse and lived at No. 386. In the adjoining house, 
north. No. 387, lived the musical family Ries. Farther down, the 
east house on that side of the way before the street assumes the 
name Kolnerstrasse was the dwelling of the hornist, afterward 
publisher, Simrock. Nearly opposite the chapelmaster's the second 
story of the house No. 515 was occupied (but not till after 1771) 
by the Salomons; the parterre and first floor by the owner of the 
house, a lace-maker or dealer in laces, named Clasen. Of the 
two adjoining houses the one No. 576 was the dwelling of Johann 
Baum, a master locksmith, doubtless the Jean Courtin, "serrurier," 
of the Court Calendar for 1773. In No. 617 was the family 
Hertel, twelve or fifteen years later living under the Beethovens 
in the Wenzelgasse, and not far off a family. Poll, perhaps rela- 
tions of Madame Beethoven the elder. Conrad Poll's name is 
found in the Court Calendars of the 1770's as one of the eight 
Electoral "Heiducken" (footmen). In 1767 in the rear of the 

^In the collection of Beethoven relics in the Beethoven House in Bonn there is a 
portrait which is set down as that of Beethoven's mother. The designation, however, 
rests only on uncertain tradition and lacks authoritative attestation. It is certainly 
difficult to see in it the representation of a consumptive woman only 40 years old. More- 
over, it is strange that Beethoven should have sent from Vienna for the portrait of his 
grandfather and not for that of his dearly loved mother had one bei-n in existence. It 
is only because of .a resemblance between this f)icture and another that the belief exists 
that fKjrtraits of both of the parents of Beethoven are in existence. In IfSDO two oil 
portraits were found in a shed in Cologne and restored by the painter Kempen, who 
recognized in them the handiwork of the painter Beckenkamp, who, like Beethoven's 
mother, was born in Khrenbreitslein, was a visitor at the Beethoven home in Bonn an<l 
died in Cologne in \HiH. TIk; female portrait agrees with that in Bonn; they are life- 
size, finely executed [)ictur<'s, but they are certainly not Beethoven's parents. Hnoiigh 
has been said alniut the portrait of thi- mother. In the case of that of the father the 
first objection is that it also lacks authentication. Fi.scher's description <loes not wholly 
fit the picture; the old man would not have forgotten the protruding lower li|). But 
the cnlirf; expression of the face, sericjus, it is true, but fleshy and vulgar, an<l llu" gray 
perru(pif, do not conform to what we know of the easy-going musician. It will be diffi- 
cult, too, to traee any resemblance of expression Ixrtwecn it and the familiar one of 
Beethoven from which a conclusion might be drawn. So long as i)roofs are wanting, 
scientific biography will have no right to accept the portraits as those of Beethoven's 
parents. Reproductions of them may be found in the "Musical Times" of London, 
December 15, \H'i)%. 



52 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Clasen house, north/ there was a lodging to let; and there the 
newly married Beethovens began their humble housekeeping. 
Their first child was a son, Ludwig Maria, baptized April 2, 1769, 
whose sponsors, as may be read in the register of St. Remigius 
parish, were the grandfather Beethoven and Anna Maria Lohe, 
wife of Jean Courtin, the next-door neighbor. This child lived 
but six days. In two years the loss of the parents was made up 
by the birth of him who is the subject of this biography. 

^The house is now owned by the Beethoven-Haus Verein, and maintained as a 
Beethoven museum. 



Chapter III 



The Childhood of Beethoven — An Inebriate Grandmother 
and a Dissipated Father — ^The Family Homes in Bonn 
— The Boy's Schooling — His Music Teachers — Visits 
Holland with his Mother. 

THERE is no authentic record of Beethoven's birthday. Wege- 
ler, on the ground of custom in Bonn, dates it the day preced- 
ing the ceremony of baptism — an opinion which Beethoven 
himself seems to have entertained. It is the official record of this 
baptism only that has been preserved. In the registry of the 
parish of St. Remigius the entry appears as follows: 

Parentes: Proles: Patrini: 

D: Joannes van 17ma Xhris. D: Ludovicus van 

Beethoven <Sc Helena Ludovicus Beethoven & 

Keverichs, conjuges Gertrudis Mullers 

dicta Baums 

The sponsors, therefore, were Beethoven's grandfather the 
chapelmaster, and the wife of the next-door neighbor, Joliann 
Baum, secretary at the electoral cellar. The custom obtaining 
at the time in the Catholic Rhine country not to postpone the 
baptism beyond 24 hours after the birth of a child, it is in the 
highest degree probable that Beethoven was born on December 
16, 1770.' 

Of several certificates of baptism the following is copied in full 
for the sake of a remark upon it written by the master's own hand : 

'In one of Ilcethoven'.s ronvcr.sjilion l)ook.s his noplicw writes on DccemlxT l.'i, 
1823: "To-day is the 15th of December, the day of your birth, l)ut I am not sure whetlu-r 
it is the 15th or 17th, inasmuch as we can not depend on the certificate of baptism 
and I read it only once wlien I was still with you in January." The nephew, it will be 
observed, docs not appeal to a family tradition but to the baptismal cerlificat*-. and the 
uncertainty, tlwrefore, is with reference to the date of baptism, not of birth. Hence the 
deduction which Kalischer makes ("Vossische Zeitunf?," No. 17, IH'fl) that Mcfthoven 
was born on December 15. Hesse calls to witness a clerk employed in Simrock's estab- 
lishment with whom Beethoven hafi business transactions, and who had written on the 
back of the announcement of Beethoven's death, "L. v. Beethoven was born oa Decem- 
ber 16, 1770." 

[53] 



54 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Department de Rhin et Moselle 
Mairie de Bonn. 

Extraii du Registre de Naissances de la Paroisse 
de St. Remy a Bonn. 

Anno millesimo septingentesimo septuagesimo, de decima septima 
Decembris haptizatus est Ludovicus. Parenies D: Joannes van Beethoven 
et Helena'^ Keverichs, conjuges. Patrini, D: Ludovicus van Beethoven et 
Gertrudis Mullers dicta Baums. 

Pour extrait conforme 
delivrS a la Mairie de Bonn. 

Bonn le 2 Juin, 1810. 
[Signatures and official seals.] 

On the back of this paper Beethoven wrote : 

"Es scheint der Taufschein nicht richtig, 
1772 da noch ein Ludwig vor mir. Eine Baum- 

garten war glaube ich mein Pathe. 
Ludwig van Beethoven. "^ 

The composer, then, even in his fortieth year still believed 
the correct date to be 1772, which is the one given in all the old 
biographical notices, and which corresponds to the dates aflBxed 
to many of his first works, and indeed to nearly all allusions to 
his age in his early years. Only by keeping this fact in mind, 
can the long list of chronological contradictions, which continually 
meet the student of his history during the first half of his life, 
be explained or comprehended. Whoever examines the original 
record of baptism in the registry at Bonn, sees instantly that 
the certificate, in spite of Beethoven, is correct; but all possible 
doubt is removed by the words of Wegeler: 

Little Louis clung to this grandfather . . . with the greatest affec- 
tion, and, young as he was when he lost him, his early impressions always 
remained lively. He liked to speak of his grandfather with the friends 
of his youth, and his pious and gentle mother, whom he loved much more 
than he did his father, who was only severe, was obliged to tell him much 
of his grandfather. 

Had 1772 been the correct date the child could never have 
retained personal recollections of a man who died on December 
2-4, 1773. A survey of the whole ground renders the conclusion 
irresistible that at the time when the boy began to attract notice 

^The mistake in the mother's name is sufficiently explained by the use of Lena as 
the contraction of both Helena and Magdalena. 

^"The baptismal certificate seems to be incorrect, since there was a Ludwig born 
before me. A Baumgarten was my sponsor, I believe. Ludwig van Beethoven." 



The Date of Beethoven's Birth 55 

by his skill upon the pianoforte and by the promise of his first 
attempts in composition, his age was purposely falsified, a motive 
for which may perhaps be found in the excitement caused in the 
musical world by the then recent career of the Mozart children, and 
in the reflection that attainments which in a child of eight or 
ten years excite wonder and astonishment are considered hardly 
worthy of special remark in one a few years older. There is, un- 
fortunately, nothing known of Johann van Beethoven's character 
which renders such a trick improbable. Noteworthy is it that, 
at first, the falsification rarely extends beyond one year; and, 
also, that in an official report in 1784 the correct age is given. 
Here an untruth could not be risked, nor be of advantage if it had 
been. 

Dr. C. M. Kneisel, who championed the cause of the house 
in the Bonngasse in a controversy conducted in the "Kolnische 
Zeitung" in 1845, touching the birthplace of Beethoven, remarks 
that the mother "was, as is known, a native of the Ehrenbreit- 
stein valley and separated from her relatives; he (Johann van 
Beethoven) was without relatives and in somewhat straitened 
circumstances financially. What, then, was more natural than 
that he should invite his neighbor, Frau Baum, a respected and 
well-to-do woman, in whose house the baptismal feast ivas held, to 
be sponsor for his little son.^" This last fact indicates clearly 
the narrowness of the quarters in which the young couple dwelt. 
Does it not also hint that the grandfather was now a solitary man 
with no home in which to spread the little feast.^^ Let Johann 
van Beethoven himself describe the pecuniary condition in which 
he found himself upon the death of his father: 

Most Reverend Archbishop, 
Most Gracious Elector and Lord, Lord. 

Will Your Electoral Grace graciously he pleased to hear that my 
father has j>H.ssed away from this world, to whom it was granted to serve 
his Electoral Grace Clemens August and Your Electoral Grace and 
gloriously reigning Lord Lord 42 years, as chapelmaster with great 
honor, whose position I have been found capable of filling, but nevertheless 
I would not venture to offer my capacity to Your Electoral (Jrace, but 
since the death of my father has left me in needy circumstances my 
salary not sufficing and I comf)eIlcd to draw on the savings of my father, 
my mother still living ;iiul in a cloister at a cost of 00 rth. for boanl 
and lodging eacli year and it is not advisable for me to take her to my 
home. Your Electoral Grace is therefore humbly implored to make an 
allowance from the 400 rth. vacated for an increase of my salary so 
that I may not need to draw upon the little sjivings and my mother 
may receive the pension graciously for the few years which she 



56 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

may yet live, to deserve which high grace it shall always be my 

striving. 

Your Electoral Grace's 

Most humble and obedient 
Servant and musicus jean van Beethoven. 

There is something bordering on the comic in the coolness 
of the hint here given that the petitioner would not object to an 
appointment as his father's successor, especially when it is remem- 
bered that Lucchesi and Mattioli were already in Bonn and the 
former had sufficiently proved his capacity by producing success- 
ful operas, both text and music, for the Elector's delectation. 
The hint was not taken; what > provision was granted him, how- 
ever, may be seen from a petition of January 8, 1774, praying 
for an addition to his salary from that made vacant by the death 
of his father, and a pension to his mother who is kept at board 
in a cloister. A memorandum appears on the margin to the effect 
that the Elector graciously consents that the widow, so long as 
she remains in the cloister, shall receive 60 rth. quarterly. 
Another petition of a year later has been lost, but its contents are 
indicated in the response, dated June 5, 1775, that Johann van 
Beethoven on the death of his mother shall have the enjoyment 
of the 60 rth. which had been granted her. The death of the 
mother followed a few months later and was thus announced in 
the "Intelligenzblatt" of Bonn on October 3, 1775: "Died, on 
September 30, Maria Josepha Pals (sic), widow van Beethoven, 
aged 61 years." In a hst of salaries for 1776 (among the papers 
at Dusseldorf) for the "Musik Parthie" the salary of Johann van 
Beethoven is given at 36 rth. 45 alb. payable quarterly. The 
fact of the great poverty in which he and his family lived is mani- 
fest from the official documents (which confirm the many tradi- 
tions to that effect) and from the more important recollections of 
aged people of Bonn brought to light in a controversy concern- 
ing the birthplace of the composer. For instance. Dr. Hennes, 
in his unsuccessful effort to establish the claims of the Fischer 
house in the Rheingasse, says: "The legacy left him (Johann van 
Beethoven) by his father did not last long. That fine linen, 
which, as I was told, could be drawn through a ring, found its way, 
piece by piece, out of the house; even the beautiful large portrait 
showing the father wearing a tasseled cap and holding a roll of 
music, went to the second-hand shop." This is an error, though 
the painting may have gone for a time to the pawnbroker. 

From the Bonngasse the Beethovens removed, when, is un- 
certain, to a house No. 7 or No. 8 on the left as one enters the 



The Boy Beethoven's Early Study 57 

Dreieckplatz in passing from the Sternstrasse to the Munsterplatz. 
They were Hving there in 1774, for the baptism of another son 
on the 8th of April of that year is recorded in the register of the 
parish of St. Gangolph, to which those houses belonged. This 
child's name was Caspar Anton Carl, the first two names from his 
sponsor the Minister Belderbusch, the third from Caroline von 
Satzenhofen, Abbess of Vilich. Was this condescension on the 
part of the minister and the abbess intended to soothe the father 
under the failure of his hopes of advancement? From the Dreieck- 
platz the Beethovens migrated to the Fischer house. No. 934 in 
the Rheingasse, so long held to be the composer's birthplace and 
long thereafter distinguished by a false inscription to that effect. 
Whether the removal took place in Ludwig's fifth or sixth year 
is not known; but at all events it was previous to the 2nd of 
October, 1776, for upon that day another son of Johann van Beet- 
hoven .was baptized in the parish of St. Remigius by the name of 
Nicholas Johann, Dr. Hennes in his letter to the "Kolnische 
Zeitung" lays much stress upon the testimony of Cacilia Fischer. 
He says: "the maiden lady of 76 years, Cacilia Fischer, still 
remembers distinctly to have seen little Louis in his cradle and 
can tell many anecdotes about him, etc." The mistake is easily 
explained without supposing any intentional deception: — 6'2 
vears afterwards she mistook the birth of Nicholas Johann for 
that of Ludwig. According to Fischer's report the family re- 
moved from this house in 1776 for a short time to one in the 
Neugasse, but returned again to the house in the Rheingasse 
after the palace fire in 1777. One thought which suggests itself 
in relation to these removals of Johann van Beethoven may, 
perhaps, be more than mere fancy: that in expectation of advance- 
ment in position upon the death of his father he had exchanged 
the narrow quarters of the lodging in the rear of the Clasen house 
for the much better dwelling in the Dreieckplatz; but upon the 
failure of his hopes had been fain to seek a cheaper place in the 
lower part of the town down near the river. 

There is nothing decisive as to the time when the musical 
education of Ludwig van Beethoven l)egan, nor any positive 
evidence that he, like Handel, Haydn or Mozart, showed remark- 
able genius for the art at a very early age. Schlosser has some- 
thing on tin's point, but he gives no authorities, wliile the partic- 
ulars which he relates could not possibly have come under his 
own ol>servation. Mtiller' had heard from Franz Ries and 

'"Allg. Mu3.-Ztg.," May 23. 1827. 



58 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Nicholas Simrock that Johann van Beethoven gave his son in- 
struction upon the pianoforte and vioHn "in his earhest childhood. 
... To scarcely anything else did he hold him." In the 
dedication of the pianoforte sonatas (1783) to the Elector, the 
boy is made to say: "Music became my first youthful pursuit 
in my fourth year," which might be supposed decisive on the point 
if his age were not falsely given on the title-page. This much is 
certain: that after the removal to the Fischer house the child 
had his daily task of musical study and practice given him and in 
spite of his tears was forced to execute it. "Cacilia Fischer," 
writes Hennes (1838), "still sees him, a tiny boy, standing on a 
little footstool in front of the clavier to which the implacable sever- 
ity of his father had so early condemned him. The patriarch of 
Bonn, Head Burgomaster Windeck,/will pardon me if I appeal to 
him to say that he, too, saw the little Louis van Beethoven in this 
house standing in front of the clavier and weeping." To this 
writes Dr. Wegeler: 

I saw the same thing. How? The Fischer house was, perhaps 
still is, connected by a passage-way in the rear with a house in the 
Giergasse, which was then occupied by the owner, a high official of the 
Rhenish revenue service, Mr. Bachen, grandfather of Court Councillor 
Bachen of this city. The youngest son of the latter, Benedict, was my 
schoolmate, and on my visits to him the doings and sufferings of Louis 
were visible from the house. 

It must be supposed that the father had seen indications of 
his son's genius, for it is difficult to imagine such an one remaining 
unperceived ; but the necessities of the family with the failure 
of the petition for a better salary — sent in just at the time when 
the Elector was so largely increasing his expenditures for music 
by the engagement of Lucchesi and Mattioli and in other ways — - 
are sufficient reasons for the inflexible severity with which the 
boy was kept at his studies. The desire to say something new 
and striking on the part of many who have written about Beet- 
hoven has led to such an admixture of fact and fancy that it is 
now very difficult to separate them. One (Schlosser) tells his 
readers that "the greatest joy of the lad was when his father took 
him upon his knees and permitted him to accompany a song on 
the clavier with his tiny fingers," while others tell the tale of 
his childhood in a manner to convey the idea that the father was 
a pitiless tyrant, the boy a victim and a slave — an error which 
a calm consideration of what is really known of the facts in the 
case at once dispels. There is but one road to excellence, even 
for the genius of a Handel or a Mozart — unremitted application. 



Paucity of Intellectual Training 59 

To this young Liidwig was compelled, sometimes, no doubt, 
through the fear or the actual infliction of punishment for neglect; 
sometimes, too, the father, whose habits were such as to favor 
a bad interpretation of his conduct, was no doubt harsh and un- 
just. And such seems to be the truth. At any rate, the boy at 
an early date acquired so considerable a facility upon the clavier 
that his father could have him play at court and when he was 
seven years old produce him with one of his pupils at a concert in 
Bonn. Here is the announcement of the concert as it was repro- 
duced in the "Kolnische Zeitung" of December 18, 1870, from 
the original: 

AVERTISSEMENT 

To-day, March 26, 1778, in the musical concert-room in the Sternen- 
gasse the Electoral Court Tenorist, Beethoven, will have the honor to 
produce two of his scholars, namely. Mile. Averdonck, Court Con- 
traltist, and his little son of six years. The former will have the honor 
to contribute various beautiful arias, the latter various clavier concertos 
and trios. He flatters himself that he will give complete enjoyment to 
all ladies and gentlemen, the more since both have had the honor of 
playing to the greatest delight of the entire Court. 

Beginning at five o'clock in the evening. 

Ladies and gentlemen who have not subscribed will be charged a 
florin. Tickets may be had at the aforesaid Akademiesaal, also of 
Mr. Claren auf der Bach in Miihlenstein. 

Unfortunately we learn nothing concerning the pieces played 
by the boy nor of the success of his performance. That the violin 
as well as the pianoforte was practised by him is implicitly con- 
firmed by the terms in which Schindler records his denial of the 
truth of the well-known spider story: "The great Ludwig refused 
to remember any such incident, much as the tale amused him. 
On the contrary, he said it was more to be expected that every- 
thing would have fled from his scraping, even flies and spiders." 

T})c father's main object being the earliest and greatest 
development of his son's musical genius so as to make it a "market- 
able commodity," he gave him no other school education than 
such as was afi'orded in one of the public schools. Fischer says 
he first attended a school in the Neugasse taught by a man named 
Hiii)perti and thence went to the Munstcrscluile. Among the 
lower grade schools in Bonn was the so-caUed Tirocinium, a Latin 
school, which prepared pupils for the gynniasium but was not 

'There was no teacher of this name in Bonn at the time. There was a Rupert, 
however, who may have been the one meant by Fischer. 



60 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

directly connected with it, but had its own corps of teachers, like 
the whole educational system of the period, under the supervision 
of the Academic Council established by Max Friedrich in 1777. 
The pupils learned, outside of the elementary studies (arithmetic 
and writing are said to have been excluded), to read and write 
Latin up to an understanding of Cornelius Nepos. Johann Krengel, 
a much respected pedagogue, was teacher at the time and was 
appointed municipal schoolmaster in 1783 by the Academic 
Council. In 1786 he transferred the school to the Bonngasse. 
To this school young Beethoven was sent; when, is uncertain. 
His contemporary and schoolfellow Wurzer, Electoral Councillor 
and afterwards president of the Landgericht, relates the following 
in his memoirs:^ 

One of my schoolmates under Krengel was Luis van Beethoven, 
whose father held an appointment as court singer under the Elector. 
Apparently his mother was already dead at the time,^ for Luis v. B. was 
distinguished by uncleanliness, negligence, etc. Not a sign was to be 
discovered in him of that spark of genius which glowed so brilliantly 
in him afterwards. I imagine that he was kept down to his musical 
studies from an early age by his father. 

Wurzer entered the gymnasium in 1781; Beethoven did not. 
This, therefore, must have been the time at which all other studies 
were abandoned in favor of music. . In what manner his educa- 
tion was otherwise pieced out is not to be learned. The lack of 
proper intellectual discipline is painfully obvious in Beethoven's 
letters throughout his life. In his early manhood he wrote a 
fair hand, so very different from the shocking scrawl of his later 
years as to make one almost doubt the genuineness of autographs 
of that period; but in orthography, the use of capital letters, 
punctuation and arithmetic he was sadly deficient all his life long. 
He was still able to use the French tongue at a later period, and 
of Latin he had learned enough to understand the texts which 
he composed; but even as a schoolboy his studies appear to have 
been made second to his musical practice with which his hours 
out of school were apparently for the most part occupied. He 
was described by Dr. Miiller as "a shy and taciturn boy, the neces- 
sary consequence of the life apart which he led, observing more 
and pondering more than he spoke, and disposed to abandon 
himself entirely to the feelings awakened by music and (later) 

^These memoirs are in manuscript. They were formerly in the possession of Dr. 
Bodifee of Bonn, later in the Town Hall. 

*Error; Beethoven's mother did not die until 1787, long after he had left school. 



Beethoven and van den Eeden 61 

by poetry and to the pictures created by fancy." Of those who 
were his schoolfellows and who in after years recorded their remi- 
niscences of him, not one speaks of him as a playfellow, none has 
anecdotes to relate of games with him, rambles on the hills or ad- 
ventures upon the Rhine and its shores in which he bore a part. 
Music and ever music; hence the power of clothing his thoughts 
in words was not developed by early culture, and the occasional 
bursts of eloquence in his letters and recorded conversations 
are held not to be genuine, because so seldom found. As if the 
strong mind, struggling for adequate expression, should not at 
times break through all barriers and overcome all obstacles l"^ 
Urged forward thus by the father's severity, by his tender love 
for his mother and by the awakening of his ovm tastes, the develop- 
ment of his skill and talents was rapid; so much so that in his 
ninth year a teacher more competent than his father was needed. 
The first to whom his father turned was the old court organ- 
ist van den Eeden, who had been in the electoral service about 
fifty years and had come to Bonn before the arrival there of Lud- 
wig van Beethoven, the grandfather. One can easily imagine 
his willingness to serve an old and deceased friend by fitting his 
grandson to become his successor; and this might account for 
Schlosser's story tliat at first he taught him gratis, and that he 
continued his instructions at the command and expense of the 
Elector. The story may or may not be true, but nothing has 
been discovered in the archives at Diisseldorf confirming the 
statement; in fact concerning the time, the subjects and the re- 
sults of van den Eeden's instruction we are thrown largely upon 
conjecture. "In his eighth year," says Maurer in his notices, 
"Court Organist van den Eeden took him as a pupil; nothing 

'Thayer's characterization of the joyless boyhood of Beethoven may submit to a 
slight modification, at least so far as his childhood is concerned, without violence to the 
verities of history. Fischer would have us believe that the lad took part with his brother 
Carl in boyish capers which were not always of a harmless character. In a letter to 
Simrock, Court Councillor Krupp relates: "My father, who died in 1847, was a youthful 
friend and schoolmate of Ludwig and Carl van Heelhoven, and distantly related to tlic 
godmother of the former. Thursdays were holidays for the schoolboys, and the brothers 
Beethoven, L. and C^., were then wont to come to the house of ray grandparents. No. 28 
Bonngassc (now belonging to my sister and me), and amuse themselves, among other 
things, with target shooting. There was a wall between the garden of our liousc and the 
gardens of the adjoining houses in the Wenzelgasse against which the targ<'t was placed 
at which the boys shot arrows; a hit in the centre brought forth a Sliihcr (about 4 pfen- 
nigs) for the lucky marksman. Garden and wall arc now (1890) in the same condition 
as then. In the evening the Beethoven brothers went home through the Gudeuauer- 
gasschen. The family lived at the time in the Wenzelgasse back of our house." Here 
is an inaccuracy, for Ludwig van Beethoven no longer went to school when the Beethoven 
familv changed their house in the Rheingasse for that in the Wenzelgasse — which waa 
probably about 1785. The letter continues: "Ludwigs father treated him harshly, 
especially when he was intoxicated, and sometimes shut him up in the cellar." 



61 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

has been learned of his progress." This, if Maurer was correct 
in stating his age, would have been about 1778. It is after this 
that Maurer refers to his study under Pfeiffer. Independently 
of all this Fischer says: "His father not being able to teach him 
more in music, and suspecting that he had talent for composition, 
took him at first to an aged master named Santerrini who instructed 
him for a while; but the father thought little of this teacher, did 
not consider him the right man and desired a change." This 
desire resulted in securing Pfeiffer through the mediation of 
Grossmann. There was no musician Santerrini in the court chapel, 
but an actor, named Santorini, was a member of Grossmann's 
troupe; he cannot be considered in this connection. There is 
evidently a confusion of names, and the whole context, especially 
the reference to the "aged master," shows that no other than van 
<ien Eeden was meant by the teacher who gave instruction for a 
short time before Pfeiffer. 

t Schlosser does not say that this instruction was on the organ 
and it is unlikely that the boy, who was destined for a more sys- 
tematic instruction in pianoforte playing, was put at the organ 
at so early an age. It was a deduction, probably, from the fact 
that van den Eeden was an organist and that later Beethoven dis- 
played a great deal of dexterity upon that instrument. It is 
noteworthy that Wegeler (p. 11) says nothing definite as to 
whether or not Beethoven took lessons from van den Eeden; he 
merely thought it likely, because he knew no one else in Bonn 
from whom Beethoven could have learned the technical handling 
of the organ. But there were several such in Bonn irrespective of 
Neefe. Schindler makes certainty out of Wegeler 's conjecture 
and relates that Beethoven often spoke of the old organist when 
discoursing upon the proper position and movement of the body 
and hands in organ and pianoforte playing, he having been taught 
to hold both calm and steady, to play in the connected style of 
Handel and Bach. This may have been correct so far as piano- 
forte playing is concerned; but Schindler had little knowledge 
of Beethoven's Bonn period, and the possibility of a confusion 
of names is not excluded even on the part of Beethoven himself, 
who received hints from several organists. Maurer, after speak- 
ing of Pfeiffer, continues as follows: "Van den Eeden remained 
his only teacher in thorough-bass. As a man of seventy he sent 
the boy Louis, between eleven and twelve years old, to accompany 
the mass and other church music on the organ. His playing 
was so astonishing that one was forced to believe he had inten- 
tionally concealed his gifts. While preluding for the Credo he 



Other Teachers of the Boy Beethoven 63 

took a theme from the movement and developed it to the amaze- 
ment of the orchestra so that he was permitted to improvise 
longer than is customary. That was the opening of his brilliant 
career." Maurer seems to know nothing of Neefe when he says 
that van den Eeden was Beethoven's onlj' teacher in thorough- 
bass. What he says, too, about the lad's performance at the 
organ as substitute obviously rests upon a confounding of van 
den Eeden with another of Beethoven's organ teachers — most 
likelv Xeefe. 

It is our conjecture that van den Eeden taught the boy chiefly 
and perhaps exclusively pianoforte playing, he being a master 
in that art; but his influence was small. It must be remembered 
that van den Eeden was a very old man, as whose successor 
Neefe had been chosen in 1781, and who died in June, 178'-2. 
Nowhere does he, like the other teachers of Beethoven, disclose 
individual traits; he is a totally colorless picture in the history 
of Beethoven's youth. Nor does it appear that there was any 
intimacy between him and the Beethoven family, since other- 
wise he would not have been missing in the notices of Fischer, 
who does not even know his name. The judgment of the father 
that his instruction was inefficient was probably correct. 

A fitter master, it was thought, was obtained in Tobias 
Friedrich Pfeiffer, who came to Bonn in the summer of 1779, as 
tenor singer in Grossmann and Helmuth's theatrical company. 
Maurer, the violoncellist, in some reminiscences of that period com- 
municated to this work by Professor Jahn, says that Pfeiffer was 
a skillful pianist and gave the boy lessons, but not at any regular 
hours. Often when he came with Beethoven, the father, from 
the wine-house late at night, the boy was roused from sleep and 
kept at the pianoforte until morning; — a course not particularly 
favorable to his progress at school, but one which may be readily 
credited in the liglit of what is known of Pfeiffer and Johann Beet- 
hoven, and one, moreover, which would cause the lessons to make 
an enduring impression upon the memory. There is some reason 
to think that the former was an inmate of the latter's family, 
which adds probability to the story. Although Pfeiffer was in 
Bonn but one year, Wegeier affirms that "Beethoven owed most 
of all to this teacher, and was so appreciative of the f.act that 
he sent him financial help from Vienna through Simrock." To 
what extent Wegeler's o[)inion as to Beethoven's obligations is 
correct, it would be difficult to decide; but the utter improba- 
])ility that a single year's lessons from this man would profit a 
boy eight and a half to nine and a half years old, more than tliose 



64 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

from any other of his teachers, much longer and systematically 
continued, is manifest. About this time the young court musician 
Franz Georg Rovantini lived in the same house with Beethoven. 
He was the son of a violinist Johann Conrad Rovantini who had 
been called to Bonn from Ehrenbreitstein and who died in 1766. 
He was related to the Beethoven family. The young musician 
was much respected and sought after as teacher. According to 
the Fischer document the boy Beethoven was among his pupils, 
taking lessons on the violin and viola. But these lessons, too, 
came to an early end; Rovantini died on September 9, 1781, 
aged 24. 

A strong predilection for the organ was awakened early in 
the lad and he eagerly sought opportunities to study the instru- 
ment, apparently even before he became Neefe's pupil. In the 
cloister of the Franciscan monks at Bonn there lived a friar 
named Willibald Koch, highly respected for his playing and his 
expert knowledge of organ construction. We have no reason to 
doubt that young Ludwig sought him out, received instruction 
from him and made so much progress that Friar Willibald accepted 
him as assistant. In the same way he made friends with the 
organist in the cloister of the Minorites and "made an agreement" 
to play the organ there at 6 o'clock morning mass. It would 
seem that he felt the need of familiarity with a larger organ than 
that of the Franciscans. On the inside of the cover of a memo- 
randum book which he carried to Vienna with him is found the 
note: "Measurements (Fussmass) of the Minorite pedals in 
Bonn." Plainly he had kept an interest in the organ. Still 
another tradition is preserved in a letter to the author from Miss 
Auguste Grimm, dated September, 1872, to the effect that Heinrich 
Theisen, born in 1759, organist at Rheinbreitbach near Honneck 
on the Rhine, studied the organ in company with Beethoven 
under Zenser, organist of the Miinsterkirche at Bonn, and that 
the lad of ten years surpasseid his fellow student of twenty. The 
tradition says that already at that time Ludwig composed pieces 
which were too difficult for his little hands. "Why, you can't 
play that, Ludwig," his teacher is said to have remarked, and the 
boy to have replied: "I will when I am bigger." 

When Beethoven's studies with van den Eeden began and 
ended, whether they were confined to the organ or pianoforte, 
or partook of both — these are undecided points. It does not 
appear that any instruction in composition was given him until 
he became the pupil of Neefe. In the facsimile which follows 
the part devoted to thorough-bass in the so-called "Studien,"^ 



The Story of a First Composition 65 

the composer says: "Dear Friends: I took the pains to learn 
this only that I might write the figures readily and later instruct 
others; for myself I never had to learn how to avoid errors, for 
from my childhood I had so keen a sensibility that I wrote cor- 
rectly without knowing it had to be so, or could be otherwise." 
This lends plausibility, at least, to another anecdote related by 
Maurer concerning an alleged precocious composition by Beet- 
hoven : 

About this time the English Ambassador to the Elector's court, 
named Kressner, who had extended help to the Beethoven family, living 
scantily on a salary of 400 fl. [?], died. Louis composed a funeral cantata 
to his memory — his first composition. He handed his score to Lucchesi 
and asked him to correct the errors. Lucchesi gave it back with the 
remark that he could not understand it, and therefore could not comply 
with his request, but would have it performed. At the first rehearsal 
there was great astonishment at the originality of the composition, but 
approval was divided; after a few rehearsals the approbation grew and 
the piece was performed with general applause. 

George Cressener came to Bonn in the autumn of 1755, and 
died there January 17, 1781, in the eighty -first year of his age. 
The "about this time" in Maurer's story agrees, therefore, well 
enough with that date; it is, however, a suspicious circumstance 
that Maurer had left the service and returned to Cologne in the 
Spring of 1780 and, therefore, was not eye-witness to the fact; 
and another that the circumstance was not remembered by other 
members of the court chapel, not even by Franz Ries, nor by 
Neefe, who, though not then a member, was already in Bonn. 
"In 1780," continues Maurer, "Beethoven got acquainted with 
Zaml)ona, who called his attention to his neglected education, 
gave him lessons daily in Latin, Louis continuing a year (in six 
weeks he read Cicero's letters!) — also logic, French and Italian — 
until Zambona left Bonn in order to become bookkeeper for 
Bartholdy in Mulilheim." In the "Geheime Staats-Conferenz 
Protocollen," IMay 20, 1787, one reads: "Stephan Zambona ])rays 
to be api)ointcd, Kammerportiery etc.," to which is api)ended the 
remark: "the re(iuest not granted." Zambona is a name, too, 
which, half a dozen years later, often appears in the Bonn "Intel- 
ligcnzblatt," as that of a shopkeei)er in the Market Place of that 
town. If the story of the cantata be doubtful, that of these 
private studies on the part of a boy in Beethoven's position, 
only in his tenth year and a schoolboy then if ever, like 
Hamlet's possible dreams in the sleep of death, must "give us 
pause." 



66 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Mother and son undertook a voyage to Holland in the begin- 
ning of the winter of 1781. The widow Karth, one of the Hertel 
family, born in 1780 and still living in Bonn in 1861, passed her 
childhood in the house No. 462 Wenzelgasse in the upper story 
of which the Beethovens then lived. One of her reminiscences 
is in place here. She distinctly remembered sitting, when a 
child, upon her own mother's knee, and hearing Madame van 
Beethoven — "a quiet, suffering woman" — relate that when she 
went with her little boy Ludwig to Holland it was so cold on the 
boat that she had to hold his feet in her lap to prevent them from 
being frostbitten; and also that, while absent, Ludwig played a 
great deal in great houses, astonished people by his skill and 
received valuable presents. The circumstance of the cold feet 
warmed in the mother's lap, is precisely one to fasten itself in 
the memory of a child and form a point around which other facts 
might cluster.^ 

Another incident related in connection with this journey to 
Holland — not as a fact, but as one which she had heard spoken 
of in her childhood — and one very difficult to comprehend, is, 
that some person, whether an envious boy or a heartless adult 
she could not tell, drew a knife across the fingers of Ludwig to 
disable him from playing! 

^There seems to have been no knowledge on the part of Beethoven's biographers 
of this visit to Holland until Thayer brought the incident to notice. It is, therefore, 
highly significant that the Fischer family also recalled the circumstance and, besides, 
knew what brought it about. The sister of young Rovantini, who died in September, 
1781, was employed as governess in Rotterdam, and on receiving intelligence of the 
death of her brother came to Bonn, together with her mistress (whose name has not 
been preserved), to visit his grave. For a month she was an inmate of the Beethoven 
house; there was a good deal of music-making and some excursions to neighboring places 
of interest, including Coblenz. The visitors invited the Beethoven family to make a 
trip to Holland. Inasmuch as Johann van Beethoven could not get away, the mother 
went with the lad, and, a party of five, they embarked upon the voyage. This must have 
been in October or November, 1781, which agrees with the story of the extreme cold 
encountered on the voyage. They remained a considerable time, but whether or not 
Ludwig gave a concert as he had intended, is not known. Despite the attentions 
showered upon him by the wealthy lady from Rotterdam and the many honors, the 
pecuniary results were disappointing. To Fischer's question how he had fared Beethoven 
is reported to have answered: "The Dutch are skinflints {Pfennigfuchser); I'll never 
go to Holland again." 



Chapter IV 



Beethoven a Pupil of Neefe — His Talent and Skill Put to 
Use — First Efforts at Composition — Johann van Beet- 
hoven's Family — Domestic Tribulations. 

CHRISTIAN GOTTLOB NEEFE succeeded the persons men- 
tioned as Beethoven's master in music. When this tutorship 
began and ended, and whether or not it be true that the Elec- 
tor engaged and paid him for his services in this capacity, as affirmed 
by divers writers — here again positive evidence is wanting. Neefe 
came to Bonn in October, 1779; received the decree of succession 
to the position of Court Organist on February 15, 1781, and was 
thus permanently engaged in the Elector's service. The unsatis- 
factory nature of the earlier instruction, as well as the high repu- 
tation of Neefe, placed in the strongest light before the Bonn 
public by those proceedings which had compelled him to remain 
there, would render it highly desirable to Johann van Beethoven 
to transfer his son to the latter's care. It would create no surprise 
should proof hereafter come to light that this change was made 
even before the issue of the decree of February 15, 1781; — that 
even then the pupil was profiting by the lessons of the zealous 
Bachist. Whether tliis was so or not, it was more than ever 
necessary that the boy's talents should be put to profitable use, 
for the father found his family still increasing. The baptism 
of a daughter named Anna Maria Franciska after her sponsors 
Anna IVIaria Klemmers, dicta Kochs, and Franz Rovantini, court 
musician, is recorded in the St. Remigius register February 23, 
1779, and her death on the 27th of the same month. Tlie baptism 
of August Franciscus Georgius van Beethoven — Franz Rovantini, 
Musicus Aulicus and Helene Averdonk, 'pairini^ follows nearly 
two years later — January 17, 1781. There is no minister of 
State now to lend his name to a child of Johann van Beethoven, 
nor any lady abbess. Rovantini, one of the youngest members 
of the orchestra (relative and friend of the family), and a Frau 
Kochs, the young contralto, whose musical education the father 

167] 



CS The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

had superintended, take their places — another indication that the 
head of the family is gradually sinking in social position. 

It is Schlosser who states that "the Elector urged Neefe to 
make it his particular care to look after the training of the young 
Beethoven." How much weight is to be attached to this asser- 
tion of a man who hastily threw a few pages together soon after 
the death of the composer, and who begins by adopting the old 
error of 1772 as the date of his birth, and naming his father 
"Anton," may safely be left to the reader. That the story may 
possibly have some foundation in truth is not denied; but the 
probabilities are all against it. Just in these years Max Friedrich 
is busy with his tric-trac, his balls, his new operettas and comedies, 
and with his notion of making the theatre a school of morals. 
The truth seems to be (and it is the only hypothesis that suggests 
itself, corresponding to the established facts), that Johann van 
Beethoven had now determined to make an organist of his son 
as the surest method of making his talents productive. The 
appointment of Neefe necessarily destroyed Ludwig's hope of 
being van den Eeden's successor; but Neefe's other numerous 
employments would make an assistant indispensable, and to 
this place the boy might well aspire. It will be seen in the course 
of the narrative that Beethoven never had a warmer, kinder and 
more valuable friend than Neefe proved throughout the remainder 
of his Bonn life; that, in fact, his first appointment was obtained 
for him through Neefe, although this is the first hint yet published 
that the credit does not belong to a very different personage. 
What, then, so natural, so self-evident as that Neefe, foreseeing 
the approaching necessity of some one to take charge of the little 
organ in the chapel at times when his duties to the Grossmann 
company would prevent him from officiating in person, should 
gladly undertake the training of the remarkable talents of van 
den Eeden's pupil with no wish for any other remuneration than 
the occasional services which the youth could render him.'^ 

Dr. Wegeler remarks: "Neefe had little influence upon the 
instruction of our Ludwig, who frequently complained of the too 
severe criticisms made on his first efforts in composition." The 
first of these assertions is evidently an utter mistake. In 1793 
Beethoven himself, at all events, thought differently: "I thank 
you for the counsel which you gave me so often in my progress 
in my divine art. If I ever become a great man yours shall be 
a share of the credit. This will give you the greater joy since 
you may rest assured," etc. Thus he wrote to his old teacher. 
As to the complaint of harsh criticism it may be remarked that 



Neefe's Influence on Beethoven 69 

Neefe, reared in the strict Leipsic school, must have been greatly 
dissatisfied with the direction which the young genius was taking 
under the influences which surrounded him, and that he should 
labor to change its course. He was still a young man, and in 
his zeal for his pupil's progress may well have criticized his child- 
ish compositions with a severity which, though no more than 
just and reasonable, may have so contrasted with injudicious 
praise from other quarters as to wound the boy's self-esteem and 
leave a sting behind; especially if Neefe indulged in a tone at all 
contemptuous, a common fault of young men in like cases. Prob- 
ably, in some conversation upon this point Beethoven may have 
remarked to Wegeler that Neefe had criticized him in his child- 
hood rather too severely. 

But to return from the broad field of hypothesis to the narrow 
path of facts. "On this day, June 20, 1782," Neefe writes of him- 
self and the Grossmann company, "we entered upon our journey 
to Miinster, whither the Elector also went. The day before my 
predecessor. Court Organist van den Eeden, was buried; I re- 
ceived permission, however, to leave my duties in the hands of 
a vicar and go along to Westphalia and thence to the Michaelmas 
fair at Frankfort." The Diisseldorf documents prove that this 
vicar was Ludwig van Beethoven, now just eleven and a half 
years of age. In the course of the succeeding winter, Neefe pre- 
pared that very valuable and interesting communication to 
'Cramer's Magazine" which has been so largely quoted. In 
this occurs the first printed notice of Beetlioven, one which is 
honorable to head and heart of its author. He writes, under 
dateof March 2, 1783: 

Louis van Beethoven, son of the tenor singer mentioned, a boy of 
eleven years and of most promising talent. He plays the clavier very 
skilfully and with power, reads at sight very well, and — to put it in a 
nutsliell — he plays chiefly "The Well-Tempered Clavichord" of Sebastian 
Bach, which Herr Neefe put into his hands. Whoever knows this collec- 
tion of preludes and fugues in all the keys — which might almost be called 
the non plus ultra of our art — will know what this means. So far as his 
duties permitted, Herr Neefe has also given him instruction in thorough- 
bass. He is now training him in composition and for his encouragement 
has had nine variations for the pianoforte, written by him on a march — 
by Ernst C^hrist()i)h Drossier — engraved at Mannheim. This youthful 
genius is deserving of help to enable him to travel. lie would surely 
become a second Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were he to continue as he 
has begun. 

This allusion to Mozart, who had not then produced those 
immortal works upon which his fame now principally rests, speaks 



70 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

well for the insight of Neefe and renders his high appreciation of 
liis pupil's genius the more striking. Had this man then really 
so little influence upon its development as Wegeler supposed? 
That C. P. E. Bach's works were included in Neefe's course 
of instruction is rendered nearly certain by the following facts: 
he was himself a devout student of them; the only reference to 
his father made by Beethoven in all the manuscripts examined 
for this work, an official document or two excepted, is upon an 
unfinished copy of one of Bach's cantatas in these words : "Written 
by my dear father;"^ and one of the works most used by him in 
compiling his "Materialien fiir Contrapunkt" in 1809 was Bach's 
"Versuch iiber die wahre Art das Clavier zu Spielen." The un- 
lucky remark of Wegeler, founded, too, possibly upon some ex- 
pression of Beethoven's in a moment of spleen, but certainly not 
in justice, has cast a shadow upon the relation between Neefe 
and his pupil. Writer after writer has copied without examining 
it. Does it bear examination? Possibly, if it be supposed to 
relate only to execution upon the pianoforte and organ; but in 
no other case. It is self-evident that serious study in the severe 
school of the Bachs was necessary to counteract the influence of 
the light and trivial music of the Bonn stage upon the young 
genius; and to Neefe the credit of seeing this and acting accord- 
ingly must be given. The reader's attention is called particu- 
larly to the words "He is now training him in composition, and 
for his encouragement has had nine variations for the pianoforte 
written by him on a march by Dressier engraved at Mannheim," 
in Neefe's notice of Beethoven above cited, and the date of the 
article from which it is taken — March 2, 1783. Is it not per- 
fectly clear that these variations have been recently composed, 
and very recently printed? Yet upon the title stands, "Par un 
jeune amateur, Louis van Beethoven, age de dix ans." If this 
were a solitary case of apparent discrepancy between the boy's 
age and the year given it would attract and deserve no notice; 
but it is one of many and adds its weight to the evidence of that 
falsification already spoken of.- 

i"Morgengesang am Schopfungstage." 

^\s given by Nottebohm in his catalogue (p. 154) the title of the original publica- 
tion of the Variations by Goetz of Mannheim ran as follows: Variations pour le Clavecin 
sur urie Marchede Mr. Dressier, com-posees et Dedices a son Excellence Madame la Comtesse 
de Wolfmetternich, nee Baronne d' Assebourg, par un jeune amateur Louis van Beethoven, 
age de dix ans. 1780." Inasmuch as Nottebohm's Notes on Thayer's "Chronologisches 
Verzeichniss" do not give the date 1780, it was probably appended by mistake. In the 
delle Sinfonie, etc., che si irovanno in manoscritto nella officina de Breitkopf in Lipsia, under 
the compositions of 1782, 1783 and 1784: Variations da Louis van Beethoven, age de dix 
ans, Mannheim, with the theme in notation. The Countess Wolff-Metternich, to whom 



Beethoven as Neefe's Assistant 71 

A second work belonging to this period is a two-part fugue in 
D for the organ. ^ 

To return to the young organist, who, since the publication 
of Wegeler's "Notizen," has always been supposed to have been 
placed at that instrument by the Elector Max Franz in the year 
1785, as a method of giving him pecuniary aid without touching 
his feelings of pride and independence. The place of assistant 
to Neefe was no sinecure; although not involving much labor, 
it brought with it much confinement. The old organ had been 
destroyed by the fire of 1777, and a small chamber instrument still 
supplied its place. It was the constantly recurring necessity of being 
present at the religious services which made the position onerous. 

On all Sundays and regular festivals (says the Court Calendar) 
high mass at 11 a.m. and vespers at 3 (sometimes 4) p. m. The vespers 
will be sung throughout in Capellis solemnibus by the musicians of the 
electoral court, the middle vespers will be sung by the court clergy and 
musicians chorally as far as the Magnificat, which will be performed music- 
ally. On all Wednesdays in Lent the Miserere will be sung by the chapel 
at 5 p.m. and on all Fridays the Stabat mater. Every Saturday at 
3 p.m. the Litanies at the altar of Our Lady of Loretto. Every day 
throughout the year two masses will be read, the one at 9, the other at 
11 — on Sundays the latter at 10. 

Such a programme gave the organist something at least to do, 
and when Neefe left Bonn for Munster, June 20, 1782, he left his 
pupil no easy task. Before the close of the theatrical season of 
the next winter (1782-'83) the master was obliged to call upon the 
boy for still farther assistance. "In the winter of 1784," writes 
the widow Neefe, "my husband of blessed memory was tempo- 
rarily entrusted with the direction of the church music as well as 
other music at court while the Electoral Chapel master L. was 
absent on a journey of several months." The date is wrong, for 
Lucchesi's petition for leave of absence was granted April 20, 1783. 
Thus overwhelmed with business, Neefe could no longer conduct 
at the pianoforte the rehearsals for the stage, and Ludwig van 

the variations are dedicatorl, was the wife of Count I^naz von Wolff-Mcllcrnirh, "Kon- 
fcTcnzincistfr" anfl president of the U'lf^U Court of -Vppeals, who died in Honn, March 
15, 17!)0. Ernst f liristoph Dressier, composer of the theme varied by Beethoven, was 
an opera singer in Cassel. 

»The Bapatelles for Pianoforte, Op. 33. included by Thayer in his MSS. and his 
"ChronrfloKisfhes Vcrzciflmiss" as also hcloiij^'iiit,' fo this period on the .slren>,'th of their 
superscription on a manuscrifjt eojjv, "Mollis van Meet liovcn . . . 17S!2," were, as NOlte- 
bohm has shown, not composed at this time. One of tiiem was composed in IHOii and 
another sketched between \T.)i) and 1801. See Nollci)ohm ("Zweilc Ik-clhovciiiana," 
p. 2.50). Nottcbohm conjectures that the or^an fu^'ue was composed at his trial for 
the post of second court organist. In view of the fact that his age was falsified by his 
father at this time, it is likely that the work was composed in 1783. 



72 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Beethoven, now 12 years old, became also "cembalist in the 
orchestra." In those days every orchestra was provided with a 
harpsichord or pianoforte, seated at which the director guided 
the performance, playing from the score. Here, then, was in 
part the origin of that marvellous power, with which in later 
years Beethoven astonished his contemporaries, of reading and 
playing the most difficult and involved scores at first sight. The 
position of cembalist was one of equal honor and responsibility. 
Handel and Matthison's duel grew out of the fact that the former 
would not leave the harpsichord on a certain occasion before the 
close of the performance. Gassmann placed the young Salieri 
at the harpsichord of the Imperial Opera House as the best pos- 
sible means of training him to become the great conductor that 
he was. This was the high place of honor given to Haydn when 
in London. In Ludwig van Beethoven's case it was the place in 
which he, as Mosel says of Salieri, "could make practical use of 
what he learned from books and scores at home." Moreover, 
it was a place in which he could, even in boyhood, hear to satiety 
the popular Italian, French and German operas of the day and 
learn to feel that something higher and nobler was necessary to 
touch the deeper feelings of the heart; a place which, had the 
Elector lived ten years longer, might have given the world another 
not merely great but prolific, nay inexhaustible, operatic composer. 
The cembalist's duties doubtless came to an end with the depar- 
ture of the Elector for Miinster in May or June, and he then had 
time for other pursuits, of which composition was one. A song, 
"Schilderung eines Madchens," by him was printed this year in 
Bossier's "Blumenlese fiir Liebhaber," and a Rondo in C for 
pianoforte, anonymous, which immediately follows, was also of 
his composition. A more important work, which before the close 
of the year was published by Bossier with a magniloquent dedi- 
cation to Max Friedrich, was the three sonatas for pianoforte, 
according to the title, if true, "composed by Ludwig van Beet- 
hoven, aged 11 years." ^ The reader can judge whether or not 
the 11 should be 12. 

To turn for a moment to the Beethoven family matters. 
This summer (1783) had brought them some sorrow again. The 
child Franz Georg, now just two and a half years old, died 

^Title of the original publication: "Drei Sonaten fiir Klavier, dem Hoch:viirdigsten 
Erzbischofe und Kurflirsten zu Koln, Maximilian Friedrich meinem gnadigsten Herrn 
gewidmet und verfertigt von Ludwig van Beethoven, alt eilf Jahr." Beethoven wrote 
on a copy of the sonatas: "These Sonatas and the Variations of Dressier are my first 
works." He probably meant his first published works. See Thayer's "Chronologisches 
Verzeichniss," p. 2, 183. 



Appointed Assistant Court Organist 73 

August 16th. This was another stroke of bad fortune which not 
only wounded the heart but added to the pecuniary difficulties 
of the father, who was now losing his voice and whose character 
is described in an oflBcial report made the next summer by the 
words **of tolerable conduct." If the duties of Neefe during 
the last season had been laborious, in the coming one, 1783-'84, 
they were still more arduous. It was the first under the new 
contract by which the Elector assumed all the costs of the theatre, 
and a woman, Mme. Grossmann, had the direction. It was all- 
important to singers, actors and whoever was concerned that the 
result of the experiment should be satisfactory to their employer; 
and as the opera was more to his taste than the spoken drama, so 
much the more difficult was Neefe's task. Besides his acting 
as chapelmaster in the place of Lucchesi, still absent, there was 
"every forenoon rehearsal of opera," as Mme. Grossmann wrote 
to Councillor T., at which, of course, Neefe had to be present. 
There was ever new music to be examined, arranged, copied, 
composed — what not? — all which he must attend to; in short, he 
had everything to do which could be imposed upon a theatrical 
music director witli a salary of 1,000 florins. It therefore became 
a busy time for his young assistant, who still had no recognition 
as member of the court chapel, not even as "accessist" — the last 
"accessist" organist was Meuris (1778) — and consequently no 
salary from the court. But he had now more than completed 
the usual year of probation to which candidates were subjected, 
and his talents and skill were well enough known to warrant his 
petition for an appointment. The petition has not been dis- 
covered; but the report made upon it to the privy council has 
been preserved, together with the following endorsement: "High 
Lord Steward Count von Salm, referring to the petition of Ludwig 
van Beethoven for the position of Assistant Court Organist, is 
of the humble opinion that the grace ought to be bestowed upon 
him, together with a small compensation." This endorsement is 
dated "Bonn, February 29, 1784." The report upon the petition 
is as follows: 

Most Reverend Archbishop and Elector, 
Most Gracious Lord, Lord. 

Your Electoral Grace has graciously been pleased to demand a 
dutiful report from me on the petition of Ludwig van Beethoven to Your 
Grace under date the 15th inst. 

Obediently and without delay (I report) that suppliant's father 
was for 29 years, his grandfather for 40. in the service of Your Most 
Reverend Electoral Grace and Your Electoral Grace's predc^cessors; that 
the suppliant has been amply proved aud fouud capable to play the court 



74 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

organ as he has done in the absence of Organist Neefe, also at rehearsals 
of the plays and elsewhere and will continue to do so in the future; that 
Your Grace has graciously provided for his care and subsistence (his 
father no longer being able to do so). It is therefore my humble judg- 
ment that for these reasons the suppliant well deserves to have graciously 
bestowed upon him the position of assistant at the court organ and an 
increase of remuneration. Commending myself to the good will of Your 
Most Reverend Electoral Grace I am Your Most Reverend Grace's 

most humble and obedient servant 
Bonn, February 23, 1784. Sigismund Altergraff zu 

Salm und ReiflFerscheid. 

The action taken is thus indicated: 

Ad Sup. 

Ludwig van Beethoven. 

On the obedient report the suppliant's submissive prayer, 
granted. (Beruhet.) 

. Bonn, February 29, 1784. 

Again, on the cover: 

Ad sup. 

Lud. van Beethoven, 
Granted. (Beruhet.) Sig. Bonn, February 29, 1784. 

The necessity of the case, the warm recommendation of 
Salm-ReiflFerscheid, very probably, too, the Elector's own knowl- 
edge of the fitness of the candidate, and perhaps the flattery in 
the dedication of the sonatas — for these were the days when dedi- 
cations but half disguised petitions for favor — were sufficient 
inducements to His Transparency at length to confirm the young 
organist in the position which Neefe's kindness had now for nearly 
two years given him. Opinions differ as to the precise meaning 
of the word Beruhet (translated "granted" in the above tran- 
scripts); but this much is certain: Beethoven was not appointed 
assistant organist in 1785 by Max Franz at the instance of Count 
Waldstein, but at the age of 13 in the spring of 1784 by Max 
Friedrich, and upon his own petition supported by the influence 
of Neefe and of Salm-Reifferscheid. 

The appointment was made, but the salary had not been 
determined on when an event occurred which wrought an entire 
change in the position of theatrical affairs at Bonn: — the Elector 
died on April 15, and the theatrical company was dismissed 
with four weeks' wages. There was no longer a necessity for 
a second organist; and fortunate it was for the assistant that 
his name came before Max Friedrioh's successor (in the reports 
soon to be copied) as being a regular member of the court chapel, 
although "without salary." Lucchesi returned to Bonn; Neefe 



Early Efforts at Composition 75 

had nothing to do but play his organ, cultivate his garden outside 
the town and give music lessons. It was long before such a con- 
junction of circumstances occurred as would have led the econom- 
ical Max Franz to appoint an organist adjunct. Happy was it, 
therefore, that one of the deceased Elector's last acts secured 
young Beethoven the place. 

The excellent Frau Karth, born in 1780, could not recall to 
memory any period of her childhood down to the death of Johann 
van Beethoven, when he and his family did not live in the lodging 
above that of her parents. This fact, together with the circum- 
stance that no mention is made of the Beethovens in the account 
of the great inundation of the Rhine in February, 1782, when all 
the families dwelling in the Fischer house of the Rheingasse were 
rescued in boats from the windows of the first story, added to the 
strong probability that Beethoven's position was but the first 
formal step of the regular process of confirming an appointment 
already determined upon; — these points strongly suggest the idea 
that to Ludwig's advancement his father owed the ability to 
dwell once more in a better part of the town, i.e., in the pleasant 
house No. 462 Wenzelgasse. The house is very near the Minorite 
church, which contained a good organ, concerning the pedal 
measurements of which, as we have seen, Beethoven made a mem- 
orandum in a note-book which he carried with him to Vienna.^ 
In the "Xeuen Blumenlese fiir Klavierliebhaber" of this year, 
Part I, pp. 18 and 19, appeared a Rondo for Pianoforte, in A 
major, "dal Sig'" van Beethoven"^; and Part II, p. 44, the Arioso 
"An einen Siiugling, von Hrn. Beethoven."^ "Un Concert pour 
le Clavecin ou Fortepiano compose par Louis van Beethoven age 
de douze ans," 32 pp. manuscrii)t written in a boy's hand, may 
also belong to this year^; and, judging by the handwriting, to the 

'The editor has here thought it advisable to permit Thayer's ori{,'inaI text to stand 
in the body of the book, although Dr. Deiter-s made a radical correction in his revision 
of the first volume of the biography. On the basis of the Fischer manuscript Dr. Dciters 
relates that the Heclliovcn family lived in the house in the Rheingasse at the time of the 
inundation; that Beethoven's mother sought to stay the alarm of the inmates with 
encouraging words, but at the last had to make her escape with the others into the (lier- 
gasse over boards and <lown ladders. .Admitting that there are many inaccuracies in 
the recital. Dr. Dciters nevertheless accejits it in tiiis |)articular and conjectures that 
Beethoven lived in the house in the Rheingasse until 178.5. 

*B. and H. Ges. Ausg. Serie 18, No. 196. 

'B. and H. Ges. Ausg. Serie 23, No. 229. 

*The manuscript contains the solo part complete with the orchestral preludes and 
interludes in transcrii)tion for pianoforte. There arc indications that it was scored for 
small orchestra — strings, flutes atul horns only. The composition was long unknown. 
Thayer inclufled it in his "C'hronologiHches Verzcichniss" under Xo. 7, giving the t hemes. 
Guido Adler edited it at a much later date, and it has been published in the supplement 
to the collected works of Beethoven. 



76 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

period may also be assigned a movement in three parts of four 
pages, formerly in the Artaria collection, without title, date or 
remark of any kind.^ 

The widow Karth perfectly remembered Johann van Beet- 
hoven as a tall, handsome man with powdered head. Ries and 
Simrock described Ludwig to Dr. Miiller "as a boy powerfully, 
almost clumsily built."^ How easily fancy pictures them — the 
tall man walking to chapel or rehearsal with the little boy trotting 
by his side, through the streets of Bonn, and the gratified expres- 
sion of the father as the child takes the place and performs the 
duties of a man! 

'Nottebohm conjectured that the movement referred to by Thayer was that for 
a musical clock. No. 29, in Thayer's chronological catalogue, there described as a duo. 
Dr. Deiters thinks that it was a fragment of a composition for pianoforte and violin. 
No. 131 in the catalogue of the Artaria collection. It contains suggestions of Beet- 
hoven's style, but the manuscript is a copy, not an autograph, and its authenticity is 
not proven. 

-In the Fischer MS.: "Short of stature, broad shoulders, short neck, large head, 
round nose, dark brown complexion; he always bent forward slightly when he walked. 
In the house he was called der Spagnol (the Spaniard)." 



Chapter V 



Maria Theresia — Appearance and Character of Elector 
Max Franz — Musical Culture in the Austrian Im- 
perial Family — A Royal Violinist — His Admiration for 
Mozart — His Court Music. 



Maria Theresia was a tender mother, much concerned to see all her 
children well provided for in her lifetime and as independent as possible 
of her eldest son, the heir to the throne. This wish had already been 
fulfilled in the case of several of them. . . . The youngest son, Maximil- 
ian (born in Vienna, December 8, 1756), was already chosen coadjutor 
to his paternal uncle, Duke Karl of Lorraine, Grand Master of the Teu- 
tonic Order. But to provide a more bountiful and significant support. 
Prince Kaunitz formulated a plan which pleased the maternal heart of 
the monarch, and whose execution was calculated to extend the influence 
of the Court of Vienna in the German Empire. It was to bestow more 
ecclesiastical principalities upon the Archduke Maximihan. His eyes 
fell first upon the Archbishopric and Electorate of Cologne and the Arch- 
bishopric and Principality of MUnster. These two countries had one 
and the same Regent, Maximilian Friedrich, descended from the Suabian 
family of Konigseck-Rothenfels, Counts of the Empire. In view of the 
advanced age of this ruler his death did not seem far distant; but it was 
thought best not to wait for that contingency, but to secure the riglit of 
succession at once by having the Archduke elected Coadjutor in Cologne 
and Munster. Their possession was looked upon as a provision worthy 
of the son of an Empress-Queen. As Elector and Lord of the Rhenish 
shore, simultaneously co-director of the Westphalian Circuit (a dignity 
associated with the archbishopric of Munster), he could be useful to his 
house, and oppose the Prussian influence in the very part of Germany 
where it was largest. 

THUS Dohm begins the seventli chapter of his "Denkwiirdig- 
keiten" where, in a calm and passionless style, he relates the 
history of the intrigues and negotiations which ended in the 
election of Maria Thcresia's youngest son on August 7, 1780, as 
coadjutor to the Elector of Cologne and, on the lOUi of tlie same 
month, to that of MUnster, and secured him tlie peaceful and imme- 
diate succession when Max Fricdrich's functions should cease. 
The news of the election at Cologne reached Bonn on the same 
day about 1 o'clock p. m. The Elector proceeded at once to the 

177] 



78 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Church of the Franciscans (used as the chapel since the confla- 
gration of 1777), where a "musical 'Te Deum' " was sung, while all 
the city bells were ringing. Von Kleist's regiment fired a triple 
salvo, which the cannon on the city walls answered. At noon a 
public dinner was spread in the palace, one table setting 54, another 
24 covers. In the evening at 8 1-2 o'clock, followed the finest 
illumination ever seen in Bonn, which the Elector enjoyed riding 
about in his carriage. After this came a grand supper of 82 covers, 
then a masked ball *'to which every decently clad subject as well 
as any stranger was admitted, and which did not come to an end 
till nearly 7 o'clock." 

Max Franz was in his twenty-eighth year when he came to 
Bonn. He was of middle stature, strongly built and already 
inclining to that corpulence which in his last years made him a 
prodigy of obesity. If all the absurdities of his eulogists be taken 
for truth, the last Elector of Cologne was endowed with every 
grace of mind and character that ever adorned human nature. 
In fact, however, he was a good-looking, kindly, indolent, some- 
what choleric man; fond of a joke; affable; a hater of stiff cere- 
mony; easy of access; an honest, amiable, conscientious ruler, 
who had the wisdom and will to supply his own deficiencies with 
enlightened and skilful ministers, and the good sense to rule, 
through their political foresight and sagacity, with an eye as 
much to the interests of his subjects as his own. 

In his boyhood he was rather stupid. Swinburne dismisses 
him in two lines: "Maximilian is a good-natured, neither here-nor- 
there kind of youth." The brilliant, witty, shrewdly observant 
Mozart wrote to his father (Nov. 17, 1781) : "To whom God gives 
an office he also gives an understanding. This is really the case 
with the Archduke. Before he became a priest he was much 
wittier and more intellectual and talked less, but more sensibly. 
You ought to see him now! Stupidity looks out of his eyes; he 
talks eternally, always in falsetto; he has a swollen neck — in a 
word, the man is completely transformed." His mother had 
supplied him with the best instructors that Vienna afforded, and 
had sent him travelling pretty extensively for an archduke in 
those days. One of his journeys was to visit his sister Marie 
Antoinette in Paris, where his awkwardness and breaches of eti- 
quette caused as much amusement to the anti-Austrian party as 
they did annoyance to the Queen, and afterwards to his brother 
Joseph, when they came to his ears. 

In 1778 he was with Joseph in the campaign in Bavaria. An 
injury to his knee, caused by a fall of his horse, is the reason alleged 



Max Franz, the New Elector 79 

for his abandonment of a military career; upon which he was 
prevailed upon, so the "Historisches Taschenbuch" (II, Vienna, 
1806) expresses it, to become a candidate for the Coadjutorship 
of Cologne. If he had to be "prevailed upon" to enter the church, 
the more to his credit was the course he pursued when once his 
calling and election were sure. 

The rigid economy which he introduced at court immediately 
after his accession in 1784 gave rise to the impression that he was 
penurious. It may be said in his defence that the condition of 
the finances required retrenchment and reform; that he was 
simple in his tastes and cared nothing for show and magnificence, 
except upon occasions when, in his opinion, the electoral dignity 
required them. Then, like his predecessors, he was lavish. His 
personal expenses were not great, and he waited until his revenues 
justified it before he indulged to any great extent his passion 
for the theatre, music and dancing (stout as he was, he was a 
passionate dancer), and his table. He was, through the nature 
of his physical constitution, an enormous eater, though his drink 
was only water. 

The influence of a ruler upon the tone and character of society 
in a small capital is very great. A change for the better had begun 
during the time of Max Friedrich, but under his successor a new 
life entered Bonn. New objects of ambition were offered to the 
young men. The church and cloister ceased to be all in all. One 
can well understand how Wegeler in his old age, as he looked back 
half a century to the years when he was student and professor — 
and such a half-century, with its revolutionary and Napoleonic 
wars, its political, religious and social changes! — should write 
("Notizen," p. 59) : "In fact, it was a beautiful and in many ways 
active period in Bonn, so long as the genial Elector, Max Franz, 
Maria Theresia's youngest son and favorite, reigned there." 
How strongly the improved tone of society impressed itself upon 
the characters of the young is discernible in the many of Ihein 
who, in after years, were known as men of large and liberal ideas 
and became distinguished as jurists, theologians and artists, or 
in science and letters. These were the years of Beethoven's youth 
and early manhood; and though his great mental powers were in 
the main exercised upon his art, there is still to l)e o))servcd 
through all liis life a certain breadth and grandeur in his intellec- 
tual character, owing in part, no doubt, to the social influences 
under which it was developed. 

It is highly honorable to the young Max Franz that lie re- 
fused to avail Iiimself of a privilege granted him in a Papal bull 



80 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

obtained for him by his mother — that of deferring the assump- 
tion of priestly vows for a period of ten years — but chose rather, 
as soon as he had leisure for the step, to enter the seminary in 
Cologne to fit himself for consecration. He entered November 
29, rigidly submitted himself to all the discipline of the institution 
for the period of eight days, when, on December 8, the nuntius, 
Bellisoni, ordained him sub-deacon; after another eight days, on 
the 16th, deacon; and on the 21st, priest; thus showing that if 
there be no royal road to mathematics, there is a railway with ex- 
press train for royal personages in pursuit of ecclesiastical science. 
Returning to Bonn, he read his first mass on Christmas eve in 
the Florian Chapel. 

The cause of science and education the Elector had really 
at heart. In 1785 he had established a botanic garden; now he 
opened a public reading room in the palace library and sent a 
message to the theological school in Cologne, that if the improved 
course of instruction adopted in Austria was not introduced, 
he should found other seminaries. On the 26th of June he was 
present at the opening of a normal school; and on August 9th 
came the decree raising the Bonn Hochschule to the rank of a 
university by authority of an Imperial diploma. 

Upon the suppression of the Jesuits in 1774, Max Friedrich 
devoted their possessions and revenues to the cause of education. 
New professorships were established in the gymnasium and in 
1777 an "Academy" was formed. This was the first step; the 
second was to found an independent institution called the Lyceum ; 
and at his death an application was before the Emperor for a 
university charter. Max Franz pushed the matter, obtained the 
charter from his brother, and Monday, the 20th of November, 
1786, was the day appointed for the solemn inauguration of the 
new institution. The Court Calendar for the next year names 
six professors of theology, six of jurisprudence, civil and ecclesias- 
tical, four of medicine, and ten of philology and other branches of 
learning. In later editions new names are added; in that of 
1790, Wegeler is professor of midwifery. 

Though economical. Max Franz drew many a man of supe- 
rior abilities — men of letters and artists — to Bonn; and but for 
the bursting of the storm which was even then gathering over the 
French border, his little capital might well have had a place in 
German literary history not inferior to that of Weimar. Nor are 
instances wanting in which he gave generous aid to young talent 
struggling with poverty; though that he did so much for Beethoven 
as is usually thought is, at least, doubtful. 



A Gifted Imperial Family 81 

This man, not a genius, not overwhelmingly great mentally, 
nor, on the other hand, so stupid as the stories told of his boy- 
hood seem to indicate, but honest, well-meaning, ready to adopt 
and enforce wise measures devised by skilful ministers; easy, 
jocose and careless of appearances, very fond of music and a 
patron of letters and science, — this man, to whom in that period 
of vast intellectual fermentation the Index Expurgatorius was 
a dead letter, gave the tone to Bonn society. 

That solid musical education which she had received from 
her father, Maria Theresia bestowed upon her children, and their 
attainments in the art seem to have justified the time and labor 
spent. In 1749, at the age of seven and six, Christina and Maria 
Elizabeth took part in one of the festive musical pieces; Marie 
Antoinette was able to appreciate Gluck and lead the party in 
his favor in later years at Paris. Joseph is as much known in 
musical as in civil and political history. When Emperor he had 
his daily hour of music in his private apartments, playing either 
of several instruments or singing, according to the whim of the 
moment; and Maximilian, the youngest, acquired a good degree 
of skill both in singing and in the treatment of his favorite in- 
strument, the viola. Beethoven once told Schindler that the 
Elector thought very highly of Mattheson. In his reminiscences 
of a visit to Vienna in 1783, J. F. Reichardt gives high praise to 
the musical interest, skill and zeal of Emperor Joseph and his 
brother Archduke Maximilian, and a writer in "Cramer's Mag- 
azine," probably Neefe, tells of a "remarkable concert" whicli 
took place at court in Bonn on April 5, 1786, at which the 
Elector played the viola, Duke Albrecht the violin, "and the fas- 
cinating Countess Belderbusch tlie clavier most cliarmingly." 

Maximilian had become personally acquainted with Mozart 
in Salzburg in 1775, where the young composer hud set Meta- 
stasio's "II Re pastore" to music to be performed in his honor 
(April 23rd); from which time, to his credit be it said, he ever 
held the composer and his music in kindest remembrance. Wlieii 
in 1781 Mozart determined to leave his brutal Arc]il)ishop of 
Salzburg and remain in Vienna, the Archduke showed at all events 
a desire to aid him. 

Yesterday (writes the composer November 17. 1781) the Arch- 
duke Maximiiian summoned me to him at 3 o'clock in the ufler- 
noon. When I entered he was standinjj; })efore a sfove in the first room 
awaiting me. He came towards me and aske<l if I liad anything' to do 
to-day? "Nothing, Your Royal Hi^'hness, and if I had it would always 
be a grace to wait upon Your Royal Highness." "No; I do not wish to 



82 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

constrain anyone." Then he said that he was minded to give a concert 
in the evening for the Court of Wurtemberg. Would I play something 
and accompany the aria? 1 was to come to him again at 6 o'clock. So I 
played there yesterday. 

Mozart was everything to him (continues Jahn) ; he signalized him 
at every opportunity and said, if he were Elector of Cologne, Mozart 
would surely be his chapelmaster. He had also suggested to the Princess 
(of Wurtemberg) that she appoint Mozart her music teacher, but received 
the reply that if it rested with her she would have chosen him; but the 
Emperor — "for him there is nobody but Salieri!" cries out Mozart pee- 
vishly — had recommended Salieri because of the singing, and she had to 
take him, for which she was sorry. 

Jahn gives no reason why Mozart was not engaged for Bonn. 
Perhaps he would have been had Lucchesi resigned in consequence 
of the reduction of his salary; but he kept his office of chapel- 
master and could not well be dismissed without cause. Mattioli's 
resignation was followed by the call of Joseph Reicha to the place 
of concertmaster; but for Mozart no vacancy occurred at that 
time. Maximilian was in Vienna during most of the month of 
October, 1785, and may have desired to secure Mozart in some 
way, but just at that time the latter was, as his father wrote, 
"over head and ears busy with the opera *Le Nozze di Figaro.' " 
Old Chapelmaster Bono could not live much longer; which gave 
him hope, should the opera succeed, of obtaining a permanent 
appointment in Vienna; and, in short, his prospects seemed 
just then so good that his determination — if he should really receive 
an offer from the Elector — to remain in the great capital rather 
than to take his young wife so far away from home and friends 
as the Rhine then was, and, in a manner, bury himself in a small 
town where so few opportunities would probably be given him 
for the exercise of the vast powers which he was conscious of 
possessing, need not surprise us. 

Was it the good or the ill fortune of the boy Beethoven that 
Mozart came not to Bonn? His marvellous original talents were 
thus left to be developed without the fostering care of one of the 
very greatest of musical geniuses, and one of the profoundest 
of musical scholars; but on the other hand it was not oppressed, 
perhaps crushed, by daily intercourse with that genius and 
scholarship. 

Maximilian, immediately after reaching Bonn as Elector, 
ordered full and minute reports to be made out concerning all 
branches of the administration, of the public and court service 
and of the cost of their maintenance. Upon these reports were 
based his arrangements for the future. Those relating to the 



Father and Sox in the Court Chapel 83 

court music are too important and interesting to be overlooked, 
for they give us details which carry us instantly into the circle 
which young Beethoven has just entered and in which, through 
his father's connection with it, he must from earliest childliood 
have moved. They are three in number, the first being a list 
of all the individuals constituting the court chapel; the second a 
detailed description of the singers and players, together with esti- 
mates of their capabilities; the third consists of recommendations 
touching a reduction in salaries. A few paragraphs may be 
presented here as most intimately connected with significant 
personages in our history; they are combined and given in ab- 
stract from the first two documents. Among the tenors we find 

J. van Beethoven, age 44, born in Bonn, married; his wife is 32 
years old, has three sons living in the electorate, aged 13, 10 and 8 years, 
who are studying music, has served 28 years, salary 315 fl. "His voice 
has long been stale, has been long in the service, very poor, of fair deport- 
ment and married." 

Among the organists: 

Christian Gottlob Xeefe, aged 36, born at Chemnitz; married, his 
wife is 32, has served 3 years, was formerly chapelmaster with Seiler; 
salary 400 fl. "Christian Neffe, the organist, in my humble opinion 
might well be dismissed, inasmuch as he is not particularly versed on the 
organ, moreover is a foreigner, having no Meritten whatever and of the 
Calvinistic religion." 

Ludwig van Beethoven, aged 13, born at Bonn, has served 2 years, 
no salary. "Ludwig Betthoven, a son of the Betthoven sub No. 8, has 
no salary, but during the absence of the chapelmaster Luchesy he played 
the organ; is of good capability, still young, of good and quiet deportment 
and poor." 

One of the items of the third report, proposing reductions of 
salaries and removals, has a very special interest as proving that 
an effort was made to sui)plant Neefe and give the post of court 
organist to young Beethoven. It reads: 

Item. If Ncffe were to be dismissed another organist would have 
to be af)i)oint('d, who, if he were to be used only in the chapel could he hud 
for 150 liorins, the same is small, young, and a son of a court munici, and 
in case of need has filled the place for nearly a year very well. 

The attempt to have Neefe dismissed from tlic .service 
failed, but a reduction of his salary to the pittance of 200 florins 
had already led him to look about him to find an engagement for 
himself and wife in some theatre, when Maximilian, having become 
acquainted with his merits (notwiUistanding his Calvinism), 



84 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

restored his former allowance by a decree dated February 8, 
1785. When Joseph Reicha came to Bonn in Mattioli's place is 
still undetermined with exactness; but a decree raising him from 
the position of concertmaster to that of concert director, and 
increasing his salary to 1,000 florins, bears date June 28, 1785. 
In the general payroll of this year Reicha's salary is stated to 
be 666 thalers 52 alb., "tenorist Beethoven's" 200 th., *'Beetho- 
ven jun." 100 th. 



Chapter VI 



Beethoven Again — The Young Organist — A First Visit to 
Vienna — Death of Beethoven's Mother — Sympathetic 
Acquaintances — Dr. Wegeler's "Notizen" — Some Ques- 
tions of Chronology. 

SCHINDLER records — and on such points his testimony is 
good — that he had heard Beethoven attribute the marvellous 
development of Mozart's genius in great measure to the "con- 
sistent instruction of his father," thus implying his sense of the dis- 
advantages under which he himself labored from the want of regular 
and systematic musical training through the period of his child- 
hood and youth. ^ It is, however, by no means certain that had 
Ludwig van Beethoven been the son of Leopold Mozart, he would 
ever have acquired that facility of expression which enabled 
Wolfgang Mozart to fill up the richest and most varied scores 
almost as rapidly as his pen could move, and so as hardly to need 
correction — as if the development of musical idea was to him a 
work of mere routine, or perhaps, better to say, of instinct. Poeta 
nascitur, non fit, not only in respect to his thoughts but to his 
power of clothing them in language. Many a man of profound- 
est ideas can never by any amount of study and practice acquire 
the art of conveying them in a lucid and elegant manner. On 
the other hand there are those whose thoughts never rise above 
the ordinary level, but whose essays are very models of style. 
Handel said of the elder Telemann, that he could compose in 
eight parts as easily as he (Handel) could write a letter; and 
Handel's own facility in composition was something astonishing. 
Beethoven, on the contrary, as his original scores prove, earned 
his bread by tlie sweat of his brow. But no amount of native 
genius can comi)ensate for the want of thorough training. If, 
therefore, it be true that nature had in some degree limited his 

'C/crny also rj-Ifitcd that Bfothovon had spoken to liim of flic hiirsh trcfttmont 
and insufficient instruction received from his futlier. "IJut," he added, "I had talent 
for music." From a note by Otto Jahn. Also see Cock's "Musical Miscellany." 

[85] 



86 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

powers of expressing his musical as well as his intellectual ideas, 
so much greater was the need that, at the age which he had now 
reached, he should have opportunity to prosecute uninterruptedly 
a more profound and systematic course of study. Hence, the 
death of Maximilian Friedrich, which must have seemed to the 
Beethovens at first a sad calamity, proved in the end a blessing 
in disguise; for while it did not deprive the boy of the pecuniary 
benefits of the position to which he had just been appointed, it 
gave him two or three years of comparative leisure, uninter- 
rupted save by his share of the organist's duties, for his studies, 
which there is every reason to suppose he continued under the 
guidance of his firm friend Neefe. 

These three years were a period of theatrical inactivity in 
Bonn. For the carnival season of 1785, the Elector engaged 
Bohm and his company, then playing alternately at Cologne, Aix- 
la-Chapelle and Diisseldorf. This troupe during its short season 
may have furnished the young organist with valuable matter for 
reflection, for in the list of newly studied pieces, from October 
1783 to the same month 1785 — thus including the engagement in 
Bonn— are Gluck's "Alceste" and "Orpheus," four operas of 
Salieri (the "Armida" among them), Sarti's "Fra due Litiganti" 
and "LTncognito" in German translation, Holzbauer's "Gunther 
von Schwarzburg" and five of Paisiello's operas. These were, 
says the report in the "Theater-Kalender" (1786), "in addition 
to the old and familiar French operettas, 'Zemire et Azor,' 
'Sylvain,' 'Lucile,' 'Der Prachtige,' 'Der Hausfreund,' etc., etc." 
The three serious Vienna operas, "Alceste," "Orpheus" and 
"Armida," in such broad contrast to the general character of the 
stock pieces of the Rhenish companies, point directly to Maximil- 
ian and the Bonn season. The elector of Hesse-Cassel, being 
then in funds by the sale of his subjects to George III for the 
American Revolutionary War just closed, supported a large 
French theatrical company, complete in the three branches of 
spoken and musical drama and ballet. Max Franz, upon his re- 
turn from Vienna in November, 1785, spent a few days in Cassel, 
and, upon the death of the Elector and the dismissal of the actors, 
a part of this company was engaged to play in Bonn during 
January and February, 1786. The performances were thrice a 
week, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and, with but two or 
three exceptions, consisted of a comedy, followed by a light 
opera or operetta. The list contains eight of Gretry's compo- 
sitions, three by Desaides, two by Philidor, and one each by 
Sacchini, Champein, Pergolesi, Gossec, Frizieri, Monsigny and 



The Boy Organist Confounds a Singer 87 

Schwarzendorf (called Martini) — all of light and pleasing char- 
acter, and enjoying then a wide popularity not only in France but 
throughout the Continent. 

Meantime Grossmann had left Frankfort and with Klos, 
previously a manager in Hamburg, had formed a new company 
for the Cologne, Bonn and Diisseldorf stages. This troupe gave 
the Carnival performances in 1787, confining them, so far as 
appears, to the old round of familiar pieces. 

Each of these companies had its own music director. With 
Bohm was Mayer, composer of the "Irrlicht" and several ballets; 
with the French company Jean Baptiste Rochefort was "music- 
master"; and Grossmann had recently engaged Burgmiiller, of 
the Bellomo company, composer of incidental music for 
"Macbeth." Hence, during these years, Neefe's public duties 
extended no farther than his service as organist, for Lucchesi and 
Reicha relieved him from all the responsibilities of the church 
and concert-room. 

That the organ service was at this time in part performed by 
the assistant organist is a matter of course; there is also an anec- 
dote, related by Wegeler on the authority of Franz Ries, which 
proves it. On Tuesday, Friday and Saturday of Holy Week, 
portions of the Lamentations of Jeremiah were included in the 
chapel service, recited by a single voice, accompanied on the 
pianoforte (the organ being interdicted) to the familiar Gregorian 
chant tune. 

On one occasion, in the week ending March 27, 1785, the 
vocalist was Ferdinand Heller, too good a musician to be easily 
disconcerted, the accompanist Ludwig van Beethoven, now in 
his fifteenth year.' While the singer delivered the long passages 
of the Latin text to the reciting note the accompanist might in- 
dulge his fancy, restricted only by the solemnity fitted to the 
service. Wegeler relates that Beethoven 

asked the singer, who sat with unusual firmness in the tonal .saddle, if he 
would permit him to throw him out, and utilized tiie somewhat too readily 
granted i)ermis.sion to introduce so wide an excursion in the acc-ompani- 
ment while persistently striking the reciting note with his little finger, 
that the singer got so bewildered that he could not find the closing cadence. 
Father Ries, the first violinist, then Music Director of the Electoral 
Chapel, still living, tells with details how Chai)elmaster Lucchesi, who was 
present, was astonished by Beethoven's playing. In his first access of 
rage Heller entered a complaint against IJeethoven with the Elector, 
who commanded a simi)Ier accomi)animenl, altliough tli<" sjjirited and 
occasionally waggish young prince was amused at th(? (xcurrence. 
Schindler adds that Beethoven in his last years remembered the circura- 



88 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

stance, and said that the Elector had "reprimanded him very graciously 
and forbidden such clever tricks in the future." 

The date is easily determined: In Holy Week, 1784, neither Max- 
imilian nor Lucchesi was in Bonn; in 1786 Beethoven's skill would 
no longer have astonished the chapelmaster. Of the other char- 
acteristic anecdotes related of Beethoven's youth there is not one 
which belongs to this period (May, 1784-April, 1787), although 
some have been attributed to it by previous writers. 

Nothing is to be added to the record already made except 
that, on the authority of Stephan von Breuning, the youth was 
once a pupil of Franz Ries on the violin, which must have been 
at this time; that, according to Wegeler, his composition of the 
song *'Wenn Jemand eineReise thut"^ fell in this period, and that 
he wrote three pianoforte quartets, the original manuscript of 
which bore the following title: "Trois Quatuors pour Clavecin, 
violino, viola e basso. 1785. Compose par (de L.) Louis van 
Beethoven, age 13 ans."^ The reader will remark and understand 
the discrepancy here between the date and the author's age. 
Were these quartets intended for publication and for dedication to 
Max Franz, as the sonatas had been for Max Friedrich? During 
their author's life they never saw the light, but their principal 
themes, even an entire movement, became parts of future works. 
They were published in 1832 by Artaria and appear as Nos. 75 
and 77, Series 10, in the Complete Works. 

One family event is recorded in the parish register of St. 
Remigius — the baptism of Maria Margaretha Josepha, daughter 
of Johann van Beethoven, on May 5, 1786. 

There is a letter from Bonn, dated April 8, 1787, in "Cramer's 
Magazine" (II, 1385), which contains a passing allusion to Beet- 
hoven. It affords another glimpse of the musical life there: 

Our residence city is becoming more and more attractive for music- 
lovers through the gracious patronage of our beloved Elector. He has 
a large collection of the most beautiful music and is expending much every 
day to augment it. It is to him, too, that we owe the privilege of hearing 
often virtuosi on various instruments. Good singers come seldom. The 
love of music is increasing greatly among the inhabitants. The piano- 
forte is especially liked; there are here several Hammer clavier e by Stein 
of Augsburg, and other correspondingly good instruments. . . 
The youthful Baron v. Gudenau plays the pianoforte right bravely, 
and besides young Beethoven, the children of the chapelmaster deserve 

i"Urian's Reise um die Welt." Op. 52, No. 1, published in 1805. 

*The manuscript formerly owned by Artaria is now (1907) in the possession of 
Dr. E. Prieger in Bonn. The figure indicating the composer's age was first written 
"14" and then changed. 



Beethoven's Introduction to Mozart 89 

to be mentioned because of their admirable and precociously developed 
talent. All of the sons of Herr v. Mastiaux play the clavier well, as 
you already know from earher letters of mine. 

"This young genius deserves support to enable him to travel," 
wrote Xeefe in 1783. In the springtime of 1787 the young "ge- 
nius" was at length enabled to travel. Whence or how he obtained 
the means to defray the expenses of his journey, whether 
aided by the Elector or some other Maecenas, or dependent upon 
the small savings from his salary and — hardly possible — from the 
savings from his music lessons painfully and carefully hoarded for 
the purpose, does not appear. The series of papers at Diissel- 
dorf is at this point broken; so that not even the petition for leave 
of absence has been discovered. The few indications bearing 
on this point are that he had no farther aid from the Elector than 
the continued payment of his salary. What is certain is that the 
youth, now sixteen, but passing for a year or two younger, visited 
Vienna, where he received a few lessons from Mozart (Ries, in 
"Notizen," page 86) ; that his stay was short, and that on his way 
home he was forced to borrow some money in Augsburg. 

When he made the journey is equally doubtful. Schindler 
was told by some old acquaintances of Beethoven "that on the 
visit two persons only were deeply impressed upon the lifelong 
memory of the youth of sixteen years: the Emperor Joseph and 
Mozart." If the young artist really had an interview with the 
Emperor it must have occurred before the 11th of April, or after 
the 30th of June, for those were the days which began and ended 
Joseph's absence from Vienna upon his famous tour to the Crimea 
with the Russian Empress Catharine; if before that absence, then 
Beethoven was at least three months in the Austrian capital and 
had left Bonn before tlie date of Neefe's letter to "Cramer's Maga- 
zine"; in which case how could the writer in speaking of his young 
colleague have omitted all mention of the fact? How, too, could 
so important a circumstance have been unknown to or forgotten 
by Dr. Wegeler and have found no place in his "Notizen," which 
moreover, were prepared under the eyes of both Franz Ries and 
Madame von Breuning? It will soon be seen that BeelJioven 
was again in Bonn before July 17 — a date which admits the l)are 
possibility of the reported meeting with Joseph after liis return 
from Russia. 

If an oi)inion, which, indeed, is little more than a conjecture, 
may be hazarded in relation with this visit, it is this: that if at 
any time the missing archives of Maximilian's court should come 
to light it will be found tliat not until after the busy week for 



90 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

organists and chapelmusicians ending with Easter was leave of 
absence granted to Beethoven; and that, too, with no farther 
pecuniary aid from the Elector than possibly a quarter or two of 
his salary in advance. In 1787, Easter Monday fell upon the 9th 
of April, the day after the date of Neefe's letter. Making due 
allowance of time for the necessary preparations for so important 
a journey, as in those days it was from Bonn to Vienna, it may be 
reasonably conjectured that some time in May the youth reached 
the latter city. 

Let another conjecture find place here: it is that Johann van 
Beethoven had not yet abandoned the hope of deriving pecu- 
niary profit from the precocity of his son's genius; that he still 
expected the boy, after replacing his hard organ-style of playing 
by one more suited to the character of the pianoforte, to make 
his dream of a wonder-child in some degree a reality. Hence — 
at what fearful cost to the father in his poverty we know not — 
Ludwig is sent to the most admirable pianist, the best teacher 
then living, Mozart. 

But enough of conjecture. The oft-repeated anecdote of 
Beethoven's introduction to Mozart is stripped by Prof. Jahn of 
Seyfried's superlatives and related in these terms: 

Beethoven, who as a youth of great promise came to Vienna 
in 1786 {?y, but was obliged to return to Bonn after a brief sojourn, 
was taken to Mozart and at that musician's request played some- 
thing for him which he, taking it for granted that it was a show-piece 
prepared for the occasion, praised in a rather cool manner. Beet- 
hoven observing this, begged Mozart to give him a theme for impro- 
vization. He always played admirably when excited and now he was 
inspired, too, by the presence of the master whom he reverenced greatly; 
he played in such a style that Mozart, whose attention and interest grew 
more and more, finally went silently to some friends who were sitting in 
an adjoining room, and said, vivaciously, "Keep your eyes on him; some 
day he will give the world something to talk about." 

Ries ("Notizen," p. 86) merely says: "During his visit to 
Vienna he received some instruction from Mozart, but the latter, 
as Beethoven lamented, never played for him." Contrary to 
the conjecture above mentioned as to Johann van Beethoven's 
object in sending his son to Vienna, it seems, from the connection 
in which Ries introduces this remark, that the instruction given 
by Mozart to the youth was confined to composition. The lessons 
given were few — a fact which accounts for the circumstance that 

'In the first edition of Jahn's "Mozart" the date is given as here. In later editions 
it was corrected in accordance with Thayer's suggestion to 1787. 



Acquaintances in Augsburg 91 

no member of Mozart's family in after years, when Beethoven 
had become world-renowned, has spoken of them. 

If it be considered that poor Mozart lost his beloved father 
on May 28, 1787, and that his mind was then fully occupied with 
his new operatic subject, "Don Giovanni," it will not be thought 
strange that he did not exliibit his powers as a pianist to a youth 
just beginning with him a course of study in composition, especially 
as the pupil, in his eyes, was a little, undersized boy of 14 — as 
there is every reason to believe. That pupil's power of handling 
a theme, since Mozart probably knew nothing of his five years' 
practice at the organ and in the theatre, may well have surprised 
him; but in execution as a pianist he probably stood far, far below 
the master when at the same age, below the little Hummel (at that 
very time an inmate of Mozart's family), and certainly below 
Cesarius Scheidl (forgotten name!) aged ten, who had played a 
pianoforte concerto between the parts of an oratorio no longer 
ago than the preceding 22nd of December in the grand concert 
of the "Society of Musicians." Had not Beethoven's visit been 
so abruptly, unexpectedly and sorrowfully brought to an end, he 
would, doubtless, have had nothing to regret on the score of his 
master's playing. 

In some written talks to Beethoven in the years of his deafness, 
still preserved, are found two allusions at least made by his nephew 
to this personal acquaintance with Mozart. In the first case the 
words are these: "You knew Mozart; where did you see him.'*" 
In the other, two or three years later: "Was Mozart a good piano- 
forte player.' It was then still in its infancy." Of course Beet- 
hoven's replies are wanting; and herewith is exhausted all tliat, 
during the researches for this work, has been found relating to 
his first visit in Vienna. The Vienna newspapers of the time 
contained notices of the "wonder-children" Hummel and Scheidl, 
but none whatever of Beethoven. 

That the youth in passing through Augsburg must have be- 
come acquainted with the pianoforte-maker Stein and his family 
is self-evident. There is something in a conversation-book which 
seems to prove this, and also to add evidence to the falsification 
of his age. It is this: in tlie spring of 1824 Andreas Streicher and 
his wife — the same Stein's "Miidl" — whose appearance at the 
pianoforte when a child of eight and a half years is so pif|uantly 
described Ijy Mozart, called upon Beethoven on their way from 
Vienna into the country. A few sentences of the conversation, 
written in the hand of the composer's nephew, are preserved. The 
topic for a time is the packing of movables and Beethoven's 



92 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

removal into country lodgings for the summer; and at length they 
come upon the instruments manufactured by Streicher; after 
which Carl writes: "Frau von Streicher says that she is delighted 
that at 14 years of age you saw the instruments made by her father 
and now see those of her son." True, it may be said that this re- 
fers to Beethoven's knowledge of the Stein "Hammerclaviere" then 
in Bonn; but to any one thoroughly conversant with the subject 
these words are, like lago's "trifles light as air," confirmation 
strong of the other view. His introduction to the family of the 
advocate Dr. Schaden in Augsburg, is certain. Reichardt was 
in that city in 1790 and wrote of Frau Nanette von Schaden as 
being of all the women he knew, those of Paris not excepted, far 
and away the greatest pianoforte player, not excelled perhaps, 
by any virtuoso in skill and certainty; also a singer with much 
expression and excellent declamation — "in every respect an ami- 
able and interesting woman." The earliest discovered letter of 
Beethoven to Schaden, and dated Bonn, September 15, 1787, 
proves the friendship of the Schadens for him and fully explains 
the causes of his sudden departure from Vienna and the abrupt 
termination of his studies with Mozart. 

I can easily imagine what you must think of me, and I can not deny 
that you have good grounds for an unfavorable opinion. I shall not, 
however, attempt to justify myself, until I have explained to you the 
reasons why I hope my apologies will be accepted. I must tell you that 
from the time I left Augsburg my cheerfulness as well as my health began 
to decline; the nearer I came to my native city the more frequent were 
the letters from my father urging me to travel with all possible speed, as 
my mother was not in a favorable state of health. I therefore hurried 
forward as fast as I could, although myself far from well. My longing 
once more to see my dying mother overcame every obstacle and assisted 
me in surmounting the greatest difficulties. I found my mother still 
alive but in the most deplorable state; her disease was consumption, and 
about seven weeks ago, after much pain and suffering, she died. She 
was such a kind, loving mother to me, and my best friend. Ah, who was 
happier than I when I could still utter the sweet name, mother, and it was 
heard .'^ And to whom can I now speak it? Only to the silent image 
resembling her evoked by the power of the imagination. I have passed 
very few pleasant hours since my arrival here, having during the whole 
time been suffering from asthma, which may, I fear, eventually develop 
into consumption; to this is added melancholy — almost as great an evil 
as my malady itself. Imagine yourself in my place, and then I shall 
hope to receive your forgiveness for my long silence. You showed me 
extreme kindness and friendship by lending me three Carolins in Augs- 
burg, but I must entreat your indulgence for a time. My journey cost 
me a great deal, and I have not the smallest hopes of earning anything 
here. Fate is not propitious to me in Bonn. 



DiL\TH OF Beethoven's Mother 93 

Pardon my detaining you so long with my chatter; it was necessary 
for my justification. 

I do entreat you not to deprive me of your valuable friendship; 
nothing do I wish so much as in some degree to become worthy of your 
regard. 

I am, with the highest respect 

Your most obedient servant and friend, 

L. v. Beethoven, 
Court Organist to the Elector of Cologne.* 

The Bonn "Intelligenzblatt" supplies a pendant to this sad 
letter: — "1787, July 17. Died, Maria Magdalena Koverich (sic), 
named van Beethoven, aged 49 years. "^ When Ferdinand Ries, 
some thirteen years later, presented his father's letter of intro- 
duction to Beethoven in Vienna, the latter *'read the letter through" 
and said: "I cannot answer your father just now; but do you 
write to him that I have not forgotten how my mother died. He 
will be satisfied with that." "Later," adds Ries, "I learned that, 
the family being greatly in need, my father had been helpful to 
him on this occasion in every way." 

A petition of Johann van Beethoven, offered before the death 
of his wife, describing his pitiable condition and asking aid from 
the Elector, has not been discovered; but the substance of it is 
found in a volume of "Geheime Staats-Protocolle" for 1787 in 
form following: 

July 24, 1787 

Your Elec. Court Musician makes obedient representation that 

Highness he has got into a very unfortunate state because of the 

has taken long-continued sickness of his wife and has already been 

possession compelled to sell a portion of his effects and pawn others 

of this and that he no longer knows what to do for his sick wife 

petition. and many children. He prays for the benefaction of an 

advance of 100 rthlr. on his salary. 

No record is found in the DUsseldorf archives of any grant 
of aid to the distressed family; hence, so far as now appears, the 
only successful appeal for assistance was made to Franz Ries, then 
a young man of 32 years, who generously aided in "every way" 
his unfortunate colleague. Where tlien was tlie Breuning family? 
Where Ciraf Waldstein? To these questions the reply is tliat 
Beethoven was still unknown to them — -a reply which involves the 

'Lady Wallace's translation, amended. The letter is preserved in the Ilcclhoven- 
Haus Museum in Konn. 

'The a^^e of Beethoven's mother at the time of her death is here incorrectly given. 
It should be 40. 



94 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

utter rejection of the chronology adopted by Dr. Wegeler, in his 
"Notizen," of that part of the composer's life. This mistake, if 
indeed it prove to be such, is one which has been adopted 
without hesitation by all who have written upon the subject. 
The reader here, for the first time, finds Wegeler's account of 
Beethoven's higher intellectual development and his introduction 
into a more refined social circle placed after, instead of before, 
the visit to Vienna; and his introduction to the Breunings and 
Waldstein dated at the time when the youth was developing 
into the man, and not at a point upon the confines of childhood 
and youth. 

This demands some explanation. 

The history of Beethoven's Bonn life would be so sadly im- 
perfect without the "Notizen" of Dr. Wegeler, which bear in 
every line such an impress of perfect candor and honesty, that 
they can be read only with feelings of gratefullest remembrance 
of their author and with fullest confidence in their authenticity. 
But no more in his case than in others can the reminiscences of 
an aged man be taken as conclusive evidence in regard to facts 
and occurrences of years long since past, when opposed to con- 
temporary records, or involving confusion of dates. Some slight 
lapse of memory, misapprehension, or unlucky adoption of an- 
other's mistake, may lead astray and be the abundant source of 
error. Still, it is only with great diflSdence and extreme caution 
that one can undertake to correct an original authority so trust- 
worthy as Dr. Wegeler. Such corrections must be made, however; 
for only by this can many a difficulty be removed. An error in 
the Doctor's chronology might easily be occasioned by the long 
accepted false date of Beethoven's birth, insensibly influencing 
his recollections; and certainly when Dr. Wegeler, Madame von 
Breuning and Franz Ries, all alike venerable in years as in char- 
acter, sit together discussing in 1837-8 occurrences of 1785- 8, 
with nothing to aid their memories or control their reminis- 
cences but an old Court Calendar or two, they may well to 
some extent have confounded times and seasons in the vague 
and misty distance of so many years; the more easily because 
the error is one of but two or three years at most. Bearing 
upon the point in question is the fact that Frau Karth — who 
distinctly remembers the death of Madame van Beethoven — has 
no recollections of the young Breunings and Waldstein until after 
that event. 

Some words of Dr. Wegeler in an unprinted letter to Beet- 
hoven (1825) : "inasmuch as the house of my mother-in-law was 



Dr. Wegeler's Chronology Corrected 95 

more your domicile than your own, especially after you lost your 
noble mother," seem to favor the usually accepted chronology: 
but if Beethoven was thus almost a member of the Breuning 
family as early as 1785 or 1786, how can the tone of the letter to 
Dr. Schaden be explained? Or how account for the fact, that, 
when he reached Bonn again and found his mother dying, and 
his father "in a very unfortunate state" and "compelled to sell a 
portion of his effects and pawn others and knew not what to do," 
it was to Franz Ries he turned for aid? The good Doctor is cer- 
tainly mistaken as to the time when Beethoven found Maecenases 
in the Elector and Waldstein; why not equally so in relation to 
the Breuning family? 

If, now, his own account of his intimacy with the young 
musician — given in the preface to the "Notizen" — be examined, 
it will be found to strengthen what has just been said: "Born in 
Bonn in 1765, I became acquainted in 1782 with the twelve years 
old lad, who, however, was already known as an author, and lived 
in most intimate association with him uninterruptedly until 
September, 1787" (and still he could forget that friend's absence 
in Vienna only a few months before), "when, to finish my medical 
studies, I visited the Vienna schools and institutions. After my 
return in October, 1789, we continued to live together in an 
equally cordial association until Beethoven's later departure for 
Vienna towards the close of 1792, whither I also emigrated in 
October, 1794." 

For more than two years, then, and ]ust at this period, Dr. 
Wegeler was not in Bonn. Let still another circumstance be 
noted: Nothing has been discovered, either in the "Notizen" or 
elsewhere, which necessarily implies that Wegeler himself inti- 
mately knew the Breunings until after his return from Vienna in 
1789; moreover, in those days, when the distinctions of rank were 
so strongly marked, it is, to say the least, exceedingly improbable, 
that the son of an immigrant Alsatian shoemaker should liave 
obtained entree upon the supposed terms of intimacy in a house- 
liold in which the oldest cliild was some six years younger than 
himself, and which belonged to the liigliest social, if not titled 
rank, until he by the force of his talents, culture, and liigh char- 
acter, had risen to its level. That, after so rising, the obscurity 
of his birth was forgotten and the only daughter ))ecame his wife, 
is alike lion()ral)lc to botli i)arties. It is unnecessary to pursue 
the point farther; the reader, luiving liis attention drawn to it, 
will observe for lu'mself the many less prominent, but strongly 
corroborating circumstances of the narrative, which confirm the 



96 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

chronology adopted in it. At all events it must stand until new 
and decisive facts against it be found. ^ 

"My journey cost me a great deal, and I have not the smallest 
hope of earning anything here. Fate is not propitious to me in 
Bonn." In poverty, ill, melancholy, despondent, motherless, 
ashamed of and depressed by his father's ever increasing moral 
infirmity, the boy, prematurely old from the circumstances in 
which he had been placed since his eleventh year, had yet to bear 
another "sling and arrow of outrageous fortune." The little 

'Thayer's correction of Dr. Wegeler's account of Beethoven's first acquaintance 
with the family von Breuning was sharply criticized by a grandson of Wegeler in an 
article published in the Coblenzer Zeitung of May 20, 1890. Thayer preserved Karl 
Wegeler's article in the library copy of his biography, and had he lived to revise his work 
he would undoubtedly either have corrected his assertions or confirmed them. Accord- 
ing to Dr. Wegeler (this is the younger Wegeler's argument, in brief), Beethoven had 
been introduced to the von Breuning family at least as early as 1785, and in that circle 
had already met Count Waldstein, who had aided him in securing his first salary as 
Court Organist. The "Notizen" do not fix the dates, though they imply that the 
occurrences took place before 1785. As to the statement of the Widow Karth, Wegeler 
urges that the testimony of a child five years old could have no weight as against that 
of persons of mature age, and that an acquaintance might well exist without intercourse 
in the Beethoven dwelling. The letter to Dr. Schaden, the product of a melancholy 
mood, does not preclude the possibility that Beethoven had received help from another 
source, especially since great care had to be exercised in extending succor to him lest 
his sensibilities be hurt. Certain it is that Wegeler, who did not go to Vienna till 1787, 
had been a faithful friend and helper in the period of Beethoven's destitution, as was 
proved by a thitherto unpublished letter of Beethoven to Wegeler, in which the former 
expressly stated that the latter had known him, Beethoven, almost since childhood. If 
the von Breuning family were really not on hand at the time of Beethoven's trouble, 
the fact might be explained by their annual sojourn in the country, which was generally 
of considerable duration. Thayer's assumption that Wegeler himself did not get 
intimately acquainted with the von Breunings until after his return from Vienna (in 
1789) is at variance with the family recollections, which presented him as a young student 
(therefore before 1787) and with him Beethoven at the time when they became visitors 
at the house. Weakness of memory on the part of a man so intellectually fresh and 
vigorous as Dr. Wegeler was in 1838 (he died ten years later) was not to be assumed; 
least of all can Dr. Wegeler have erred concerning the beginning of his acquaintance 
with the family from which he got his wife. Finally, the intimate terms of friendship 
which existed between Beethoven and Eleonore von Breuning could be fully explained 
only on the theory of a childhood acquaintance. 

In the first edition of Thayer's biography (1866) Dr. Deiters printed the text 
bearing on this question as it is given above without note or comment. In the revised 
edition of Volume I (1901), he reproduced the original text in the body of the page but 
appended a footnote in which, while asserting that an authority like Thayer ought not 
to be opposed except "with great diflBdence and extreme caution" (to use Thayer's 
words referring to Dr. Wegeler), he nevertheless upheld the contention of Dr. Wegeler's 
grandson. He says: "The definite assertion of Wegeler that he made the acquaintance 
of Beethoven as early as 1782, which is supported by Beethoven's own words, 'you 
knew me almost since my childhood,' is not to be shaken. As little can it be questioned 
that Wegeler had been introduced in the Breuning house as a student before his depar- 
ture for Vienna (according to Gerhard von Breuning before his acquaintance with 
Beethoven began); here Dr. Wegeler could not have made an error. Concerning his 
bringing Beethoven to the house he gives no date; the year 1785 is not mentioned 
in the "Notizen." On page 45, however, it is stated that Stephan von Breuning "lived 
in closest affiliation with him (Beethoven) from his tenth year till his death." Stephan 
was born August 17, 1774 {Vide "Aus dem Schwarzspanierhause," page 6); this would 
indicate the year 1784. Wegeler's remark, "especially after you lost your noble 
mother," makes it clear as day that a close friendship existed before the death of 
Beethoven's mother. 



A Year of Sadness and Gloom 97 

sister, now a year and a half old — but here is the notice from the 
"Intelligenzblatt" : — "Died, November 25, Margareth, daughter 
of the Court Musician Johann van Beethoven, aged one j'ear." 
And so faded the last hope that the passionate tenderness of Beet- 
hoven's nature might find scope in the purest of all relations be- 
tween the sexes — that of brother and sister. 

Thus, in sadness and gloom, Beethoven's seventeenth year 
ended. 



Chapter VII 



The von Breuning Family — Beethoven Brought Under Re- 
fining Influences — Count Waldstein, His Maecenas — 
The Young Musician is Forced to Become Head of the 
Family. 

IN 1527, the year in which the administration of the office of 
Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order was united with that of the 
Deutschmeister, whose residence had already been fixed at Mer- 
gentheim in 1525, this city became the principal seat of the order. 
From 1732 to 1761 Clemens Augustus was Hoch-und Deutschmeister 
of the order; according to the French edition of the Court Calendar 
of 1761, Christoph von Breuning was Conseiller d'J^tat et Referen- 
daire, having succeeded his father-in-law von Mayerhofen in the 
office. 

Christoph von Breuning had five sons : Georg Joseph, Johann 
Lorenz, Johann Philipp, Emanuel Joseph and Christoph. Lorenz 
became chancellor of the Archdeanery of Bonn, and the Freiadliges 
Stift at Neuss; after the death of his brother Emanuel he lived 
in Bonn so that, as head of the family, he might care for the edu- 
cation of the latter's children. He died there in 1796. Johann 
Philipp, born 1742 at Mergentheim, became canon and priest 
at Kerpen, a place on the old highway from Cologne to Aix-la- 
Chapelle, where he died June 12, 1831. Christoph was court 
councillor at Dillingen. 

Emanuel Joseph continued in the electoral service at Bonn; 
at the early age of 20 years he was already court councillor {Conseil- 
ler actuel). He married Helene von Kerich, born January 3, 1750, 
daughter of Stephan von Kerich, physician to the elector. Her 
brother, Abraham von Kerich, canon and scholaster of the 
archdeanery of Bonn, died in Coblenz in 1821. A high opinion of 
the intellect and character of Madame von Breuning is enforced 
upon us by what we learn of her influence upon the youthful 
Beethoven. Court Councillor von Breuning perished in a fire 
in the electoral palace on January 15, 1777. The young widow 

[98] 



Beethoven's Friends : The von Breunings 99 

(she had barely attained her 28th year), continued to live in the 
house of her brother, Abraham von Kerich, with her three children, 
to whom was added a fourth in the summer of 1777. Immediately 
after the death of the father, his brother, the canon Lorenz von 
Breuning, changed his residence from Neuss to Bonn and remained 
in the same house as guardian and tutor of the orphaned children. 
These were: 

1. Christoph, born May 13, 1771, a student of jurisprudence 
at Bonn, Gottingen and Jena, municipal councillor in Bonn, 
notary, president of the city council, professor at the law school 
in Coblenz, member of the Court of Review in Cologne, and, 
finally, Geheimer Oher-Revisionsrath in Berlin. He died in 1841. 

2. Eleonore Brigitte, born April 23, 1772. On March 28, 1802, 
she was married to Franz Gerhard Wegeler of Beul-an-der-Ahr, 
and died on June 13, 1841, at Coblenz. 

3. Stephan, born August 17, 1774. He studied law at Bonn 
and Gottingen, and shortly before the end of the electorship of 
Max Franz was appointed to an office in the Teutonic Order at 
Mergentheim. In the spring of 1801 he went to Vienna, where 
he renewed his acquaintance with Beethoven. They had simul- 
taneously been pupils of Ries in violin playing. The Teutonic 
Order offering no chance of advancement to a young man, he 
was given employment with the War Council and became Court 
Councillor in 1818. He died on June 4, 1827. His first wife 
was Julie von Vering, daughter of Ritter von Vering, a military 
physician; she died in the eleventh month of her wedded life. 
He then married Constanze Ruschowitz, who became the mother 
of Dr. Gerhard von Breuning, born August 28, 1813, author of 
"Aus dem Schwarzspanierhause." 

4. Lorenz (called Lenz, the posthumous child), born in the 
summer of 1777, studied medicine and was in Vienna in 1794-97 
simultaneously witli Wegeler and Beethoven. He died on April 
10, 1798 in Bonn.i 

'Dr. Deitcrs, differing with Thayer on the subject of the date of the beginning; 
of the intimafy between IJeethoven and the von Hreuning family, omitted in the revised 
version of tlie IJedhoven l)i()grai)hy the author's comments on tlie brief biographical 
data concerning the sons, which were as follows: "These dates, couiiiuitiicated by Dr. 
(Jerhard, son of Sle[)lian von llrcuning, prove a singular inaccuracy in \V<gcl(r's remark 
('Xachtrag zur Notizen,' page iH): 'Lciiz, as the youngest of the three brothers, was 
nearest to Beethoven in age.' " Of Stejjiian he says: "Iiuismuch as he had lived in inti- 
mate associatif)n with Heelhnven from his tenth year up to his death." Many a proof 
of this general fact will hereafter appear; but whether this "intimate association" began 
quite so early is a (piestion. 'I'he two were at the same limir pupils of I"'ranz Ries on 
the violin, and they may well have become atquainted in 17K,'5 or 17H(J; but it was not 
favorable to extreme intimacy that four years' dilference existe<l in their ages; and thai 
the one was but a schoolboy while the other was already an organist, an author and 
accustomed to move among men. 



100 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Madame von Breuning, who died on December 9, 1838, after 
a widowhood of 61 years, lived in Bonn until 1815, then in Kerpen, 
Beul-an-der-Ahr, Cologne and finally with her son-in-law, Wegeler, 
in Coblenz. 

The acquaintance between Beethoven and Stephan von 
Breuning may have had some influence in the selection of the 
young musician as pianoforte teacher for Eleonore and Lorenz,' 
an event (in consideration of circumstances already detailed and 
of the ages, real and reputed, of pupils and master) which may be 
dated at the close of the year 1787, and which was, perhaps, the 
greatest good that fate, now become propitious, could have con- 
ferred upon him; for he was now so situated in his domestic rela- 
tions, and at such an age, that introduction into so highly refined 
and cultivated a circle was of the highest value to him both 
morally and intellectually. The recent loss of his mother had 
left a void in his heart which so excellent a woman as Madame 
von Breuning could alone in some measure fill. He was at an 
age when the evil example of his father needed a counterbalance; 
when the extraordinary honors so recently paid to science and 
letters at the inauguration of the university would make the 
strongest impression; when the sense of his deficiencies in every- 
thing but his art would begin to be oppressive; when his mental 
powers, so strong and healthy, would demand some change, some 
recreation, from that constant strain in the one direction of music 
to which almost from infancy they had been subjected; when not 
only the reaction upon his mind of the fresh and new intellectual 
life now pervading Bonn society, but his daily contact with so 
many of his own age, friends and companions now enjoying advan- 
tages for improvement denied to him, must have cost him many a 
pang; when a lofty and noble ambition might be aroused to lead 
him ever onward and upward; when, the victim of a despondent 
melancholy, he might sink into the mere routine musician, with 
no lofty aims, no higher object than to draw from his talents 
means to supply his necessities and gratify his appetites. 

There must have been something very engaging in the char- 
acter of the small, pockmarked youth, or he could not have so 
won his way into the affections of the Widow von Breuning and 
her children. In his "Notizen" Wegeler writes: 

In this house reigned an unconstrained tone of culture in spite of 
youthful wilfulness. Christoph von Breuning made early essays in 

'Gerhard von Breuning would have it appear from a statement on page 6 of his 
book "Aua dem Schwarzspanierhause," that Beethoven was recommended to the von 
Breunings by Wegeler. 



Count Waldstein's Arrival in Bonn 101 

poetry, as was the case (and not without success) with Stephan von 
Breuning much later. The friends of the family were distinguished by 
indulgence in social entertainments which combined the useful and the 
agreeable. When we add that the family possessed considerable wealth, 
especially before the war, it will be easy to understand that the first 
joyous emotions of Beethoven found vent here. Soon he was treated 
as one of the children of the family, spending in the house not only the 
greater part of his days, but also many nights. Here he felt that he 
was free, here he moved about without constraint, everything conspired 
to make him cheerful and develop his mind. Being five years older 
than Beethoven I was able to observe and form a judgment on these 
things. 

It must not be forgotten that besides Madame von Breuning 
and her children the scholastic Abraham von Kerich and the 
canon Lorenz von Breuning were members of the household. 
The latter especially seems to have been a fine specimen of the 
enlightened clergy of Bonn who, according to Risbeck, formed 
so striking a contrast to the priests and monks of Cologne; and 
it is easy to trace Beethoven's life-long love for the ancient classics 
— Homer and Plutarch at the head — to the time when the young 
Breunings would be occupied with them in the original under 
the guidance of their accomplished tutor and guardian. The 
uncle, Philipp von Breuning, may also have been influential in 
the intellectual progress of the young musician, for to him at Kerpen 
"the family von Breuning and their friends went annually for a 
vacation of five or six weeks. There, too, Beethoven several 
times spent a few weeks right merrily, and was frequently urged 
to play the organ," as Wegeler tells us in the "Notizen." There 
let him be left enjoying and profiting by his intimacy with that 
family, and returning their kindness in some measure by instruct- 
ing Eleonore and Lenz in music, while a new friend and benefactor 
is introduced. 

Emanuel Philipp, Count Waldstein and Wartemberg von 
Dux, and his wife, a daughter of Emanuel Prince Lichtenstcin, 
were parents of eleven children. The fourth son was Ferdinand 
Ernst Gabriel, born March 24, 17C2. Uniting in Iiis veins the 
l)lood of many of the houses of the Austrian Empire, there was no 
career, no line of preferment oi)en to younger sons of titled families, 
which was not open to him, or to which he miglit not aspire. It 
was determined that he should seek activity in the Teutonic Order, 
of whicli Max Franz was Grand Master. According to the rules 
and regulations of the order, tlie young nol)leman came to Bonn 
to pass his examinations and s[)end his year of novitiate. Could 
the time of his arrival there be determined with certainty, the 



lO-^ The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

date would have a most important bearing either to confirm or 
disprove the chronological argument of some of our earlier pages; 
but one may well despair of finding so unimportant an event as 
the journey of a young man of 25 from Vienna to tlie Rhine any- 
where upon record. One thing bearing directly upon this point 
may be read in the "Wiener Zeitung" of July 2, 1788. A corre- 
spondent in Bonn says that on "the day before yesterday," i.e., 
June 17, 1788, "our gracious sovereign, as Hoch- und Deutsch- 
meister, gave the accolade with the customary ceremonies to 
the Count von Waldstein, who had been accepted in the Teutonic 
Order." Allowing for the regular year of novitiate, the Count 
was certainly in Bonn before the 17th of June, 1787. 

The misfortune of two unlucky Bohemian peasants, strange 
as it may seem, gives us, after the lapse of a century, a satisfactory 
solution of the difficulty. Some one reports in the "Wiener 
Zeitung" of May, 19, 1787, that on the 4th of that month two 
peasant houses were destroyed by fire in the village of Likwitz 
belonging to Osegg, and adds: "Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, 
moved by a noble spirit of humanity, hurried from Dux, took 
charge of affairs and was to be found wherever the danger was 
greatest." It was between May 4 and June 17, 1787, that Wald- 
stein parted from his widowed mother and journeyed to tlie place 
of his novitiate. His name may easily have become known to 
Wegeler before the latter's departure from Bonn for Vienna.^ 
Here follows what the good doctor says of the Count — to what 
degree correct or mistaken, the reader can determine for himself: 

The first, and in every respect the most important, of the Maecenases 
of Beethoven was Count Waldstein, Knight of the Teutonic Order, and 
(what is of greater moment here) the favorite and constant companion 
of the young Elector, afterwards Commander of the Order at Virnsberg 
and Chancellor of the Emperor of Austria. He was not only a connois- 
seur but also a practitioner of music. He it was who gave all manner 
of support to our Beethoven, whose gifts he was the first to recognize 
worthily. Through him the young genius developed the talent to im- 
provise variations on a given theme. From him he received much 
pecuniary assistance bestowed in such a way as to spare his sensibilities, 
it being generally looked upon as a small gratuity from the Elector. 

^Dr. Wegeler's grandson, in his criticism of Thayer's assertions concerning the 
date of the beginning of the acquaintance between Beethoven and the von Breunings, 
falls foul of even this ingenious demonstration, saying that the incident of the conflagra- 
tion might have taken place when Count Waldstein was at home visiting his mother. 
He could not believe that the Count had spent all of the first 24 years of his life at Dux 
in "idyllic solitude," and argued that he might have visited Bonn /or the first time at an 
earlier date than 1787. Dr. Deiters held that the point was well taken; as if there was 
no alternative for the young count between "idyllic solitude" at Dux and a sojourn 
at Bonn! 



LUDWIG THE HiL\D OF THE FaMILY 103 

Beethoven's appointment as organist, his being sent to Vienna by the 
Elector, were the doings of the Count. When Beethoven at a later date 
dedicated the great and important Sonata in C major, Op. 53, to him, 
it was only a proof of the gratitude which lived on in the mature man. 
It is to Count Waldstein that Beethoven owed the circumstance that 
the first sproutings of his genius were not nipped; therefore we owe this 
Maecenas Beethoven's later fame. 

Frau Karth remembered distinctly the 17th of June upon 
which Waldstein entered the order, the fact being impressed 
upon her mind by a not very gentle reminder from the stock of 
a sentinel's musket that the palace chapel was no place for children 
on such an occasion. She remembered Waldstein's visits to 
Beethoven in the years following in his room in the Wenzelgasse 
and was confident that he made the young musician a present of 
a pianoforte. 

To save bis line from extinction the Count obtained a dispen- 
sation from his vows and married (May 9, 1812) Maria Isabella, 
daughter of Count Rzewski. A daughter, Ludmilla, was born 
to him; but no son. He died on August 29, 1823, and the family of 
Waldsteins of Dux disappears. While all that Wegeler says of 
this man's kindness in obtaining the place of organist for Beethoven 
and of his influence upon his musical education is one grand mis- 
take, ' there is no reason whatever to doubt that those qualities 
wdiich made the j'outh a favorite with the Breunings, added to 
his manifest genius, made their way to the young count's heart 
and gained for Beethoven a zealous, influential and active friend. 
Still, in June, 1778, Waldstein possessed no such influence as to 
render a petition for increase of salary, offered by his protege, 
successful. That document has disappeared, but a paper remains, 
dated June 5, concerning the petition, which is endorsed "Beruhet." 
W'hatever this word may here mean it is certain that Ludwig's 
salary as organist remained at the old point of 100 thalers, 
which, with the 200 received by his father, the three measures 
of grain and the small sum that lie might earn by teaching, was all 
that Johann van Beethoven and three sons, now respectively in 
their eighteenth, fifteenth and twelfth years, had to live ui)on; 
and tJuTcfore so much the more necessity for the exercise of 
Waldstein's generosity. 

After the death of the mother, says Frau Karth, a house- 
keeper was emj)loyod and the father and sons remained together 
in the lodgings in the Wenzelgasse. Carl was intended for the 

'Thus in Mr. Thayer's orif^inal manuscript. Dr. Dciters omitted the remark in 
his revision, but it is here perniilt<<i to stand aloti),' witli otlicr controverted matters. 



104 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

musical profession; Johann was put apprentice to the court apoth- 
ecary, Johann Peter Hittorf. Two years, however, had hardly 
elapsed when the father's infirmity compelled the eldest son, 
not yet nineteen years of age, to take the extraordinary step of 
placing himself at the head of the family. One of Stephan von 
Breuning's reminiscences shows how low Johann van Beethoven 
had sunk: viz., that of having seen Ludwig furiously interposing 
to rescue his intoxicated father from an oflScer of police. 

Here again the petition has disappeared, but its contents 
are sufficiently made known by the terms of the decree dated 
November 20, 1789: 

His Electoral Highness having graciously granted the prayer of 
the petitioner and dispensed henceforth wholly with the services of his 
father, who is to withdraw to a village in the electorate, it is graciously 
commanded that he be paid in accordance with his wish only 100 rthr. 
of the annual salary which he has had heretofore, beginning with the 
approaching new year, and that the other 100 thlr. be paid to the sup- 
pliant's son besides the salary which he now draws and the three measures 
of grain for the support of his brothers. 

It is probable that there was no intention to enforce this 
decree in respect of the withdrawal of the father from Bonn, and 
that this clause was inserted in terrorem in case he misbehaved 
himself; for he continued, according to Frau Karth, to dwell 
with his children, and his first receipt, still preserved, for the 
reduced salary is dated at Bonn — a circumstance, however, which 
alone would prove little or nothing. 



/' 



Chapter VIII 



The National Theatre of Max Franz — Beethoven's Artistic 
Associates — Practical Experience in the Orchestra — The 
*'Ritterballet" — The Operatic Repertory of Five Years. 

EARLY in the year 1788, the mind of the Elector, Max Franz, 
was occupied with the project for forming a company of 
Hofschauspieler; in short, with the founding of a National 
Theatre upon the plan adopted by his predecessor in Bonn and by 
his brother Joseph in Vienna. His finances were now in order, the 
administration of pul)lic affairs in able hands and working smoothly, 
and there was nothing to hinder him from placing both music and 
theatre upon a better and permanent footing; which he now pro- 
ceeded to do. The Klos troupe, which had left Cologne in March, 
played for a space in Bonn, and on its dispersal in the summer 
several of its better actors were engaged and added to others who 
had already settled in Bonn. The only names which it is neces- 
sary to mention here are those of significance in the history of 
Beethoven. Joseph Reicha was director; Neefe, pianist and stage- 
manager for opera; in the orchestra were Franz Ries and Andreas 
Romberg (violin), Ludwig van Beethoven (viola), Bernard 
Romljerg (violoncello), Nicolaus Simrock (horn) and Anton 
Reicha (flute). A comparison of tlie lists of the theatrical estab- 
lishment with that of the court chapel as printed in the Court 
Calendars for 1778 and the following years, shows that the two 
institutions were kept distinct, though the names for the greater 
j)art appear in both. Some of the singers in tlie chapel played 
in the theatrical orchestra, while certain of tJie players in the 
chapel sang upon the stage. Other names appear in but one of 
the lists. 

As organist tlie name of Beethoven appears still in the Court 
Calendar, but as viola player jie Jiad a plaei^ in both the orchestras. 
Thus, for a j)eriod of full four years, he had the oj)portunity of 
studying practically orchestral comi)ositions in the best of all 
schools — the orchestra itself. This Ijody oi' thirty -one members, 

[105] 



106 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

under the energetic leadership of Reicha, many of them young 
and ambitious, some already known as virtuosos and still keeping 
their places in musical history as such, was a school for instru- 
mental music such as Handel, Bach, Mozart and Haydn had not 
enjoyed in their youth; that its advantages were improved both 
by Beethoven and others of the younger men, all the world knows. 

One fact w^orthy of note in relation to this company is the 
youth of most of the new members engaged. Maximilian seems 
to have sought out young talent, and w^hen it proved to be of 
true metal, gave it a permanent place in his service, adopted wise 
measures for its cultivation, and thus laid a foundation upon 
which, but for the outbreak of the French Revolution, and the 
consequent dispersion of his court, would in time have risen a 
musical establishment, one of the very first in Germany. 

This is equally true of the new members of his orchestra. 
Reicha himself was still rather a young man, born in 1757. He 
was a virtuoso on the violoncello and a composer of some note; 
but his usefulness was sadly impaired by his sufferings from gout. 
The cousins Andreas and Bernhard Romberg, Maximilian had 
found at Miinster and brought to Bonn. They had in their boy- 
hood, as virtuosos upon their instruments — Andreas violin, 
Bernhard 'cello — made a tour as far as Paris, and their concerts 
were crow^ned with success. Andreas was born near Miinster in 
1767, and Ledebur ("Tonkiinstler Berlins") adopts the same year 
as the date also of Bernhard's birth. They were, therefore, three 
years older than Beethoven and now just past 21. Both were 
already industrious and well-known composers and must have 
been a valuable addition to the circle of young men in which 
Beethoven moved. The decree appointing them respectively 
Court Violinist and Court Violoncellist is dated November 19, 1790. 

Anton Reicha, a fatherless nephew of the concertmaster, 
born at Prague, February 27, 1770, was brought by his uncle to 
Bonn. He had been already for some years in that uncle's care 
and under his instruction had become a good player of the flute, 
violin and pianoforte. In Bonn, Reicha became acquainted with 
Beethoven, who was then organist at court. "We spent fourteen 
years together," says Reicha, "united in a bond like that of Orestes 
and Pylades, and were continually side by side in our youth. 
After a separation of eight years we saw each other again in Vienna, 
and exchanged confidences concerning our experiences." At the 
age of 17 composing orchestral and vocal music for the Electoral 
Chapel, a year later flautist in the theatre, at nineteen both flautist 
and violinist in the chapel and so intimate a friend of Beethoven, 



Opeil\ uxder Elector Max Franz 107 

who was less than a year his junior — were Reicha's laurels no 
spur to the ambition of the other? 

The names of several of the performers upon wind-instruments 
were new names in Bonn, and the thought suggests itself that the 
Elector brought with him from Vienna some members of the 
Harmoniemnsik which had won high praise from Reichardt, and 
it will hereafter appear that such a band formed part of the musical 
establishment in Bonn — a fact of importance in its bearing upon 
the questions of the origin and date of various known works 
both of Beethoven and of Reicha, and of no less weight in 
deciding where and how these men obtained their marvellous 
knowledge of the powers and effects of this class of instruments. 

The arrangements were all made in 1788, but not early 
enough to admit of the opening of the theatre until after the 
Christmas holidays, namely, on the evening of January 3, 1789. 
The theatre had been altered and improved. An incendiary fire 
threatened its destruction the day before, but did not postpone the 
opening. The opening piece was "Der Baum der Diana" by Vin- 
cenzo Martin. It may be thought not very complimentary to 
the taste of Maximilian that the first season of his National Theatre 
was opened thus, instead of with one of Gluck's or Mozart's 
masterpieces. It suffices to say that he, in his capacity of Grand 
Master of the Teutonic Order, had spent a good j)art of the 
autumn at Mergentheim and only reached Bonn on his return on 
the last day of January. Hence he was not responsible for that 
selection. 

The season which opened on January 3, 1789, closed on 
May 23. Within this period the following operas were performed, 
Beethoven taking part in the performances as a member of the 
orchestra: "Der Baum der Diana" {UArhore di Diana), Martin; 
"Romeo und Julie," Georg Benda; "Ariadne" (duo-drama by 
Georg Benda); "Das Miidchen von Frascati" (La Frasratatia), 
Paisiello; "Julie," Desaides; "Die drei Piichter" {Les troU Fermiers), 
De.saides; "Die Entfiihrung aus dem Serail," Mozart; "Nina," 
Dalayrac; "Trofonio's Zauberhohle" {La grotta di Trofonio), 
SaHeri; "Der eifersiichtige Liebhaber" {UAmanl jaloux), Gretry; 
"Der Schmaus" (// Convivo), Cimarosa; "Der Alchyraist," 
Schuster; "Das Blendwerk" (La fausse Magic), Gretry. 

The second season began October 13, 1789, and continued 
until February 23, 1790. On the 24th of February news reached 
Bonn of the death of Maximilian's brotlier, the Emperor Joscpli II, 
and the theatre was closed. The repertory for the season com- 
prised "Don Giovanni," Mozart (wliich was given tliree times); 



108 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

"Die Colonic" {L'Isola d'Amore), Sacchini; "Der Barbier von 
Sevilla" (// Barhiere di Siviglia), Paisiello; "Romeo und Julie," 
Georg Benda; "Die Hochzeit des Figaro" (Le Nozze di Figaro), 
Mozart (given four times); "Nina," Dalayrae; "Die schone 
Schusterin," Umlauf; "Ariadne," Georg Benda; "Die Pilgrimme 
von Mecca," Gluck; "Der Konig von Venedig" (// Re Teodoro), 
Paisiello; "Der Alchymist," Schuster; "Das listige Bauernmad- 
chen" (Lafinta Giardiniera), Paisiello; "Der Doktor und Apothe- 
ker," Dittersdorf . A letter to the "Berliner Annalen des Theaters" 
mentions three operas which are not in the list of the theatrical 
calendar and indicates that the theatre was opened soon after 
receipt of the intelligence of the death of Joseph, and several 
pieces performed, among them // Marchese Tulipano by Paisiello. 
The writer also mentions performances of Anfossi's (or Sarti's) 
Avaro inamorato, Pergolese's Serva padrona and La Villanella di 
spirito, composer unmentioned, by an Italian company headed 
by Madame Bianchi. 

The third season began October 23, 1790, and closed on 
March 8, 1791. Between the opening and November 27, perform- 
ances of the following musical-dramatic works are recorded: 
"Konig Theodor in Venedig" {II Re Teodoro), Paisiello; "Die 
Wilden" (Azemia), Dalayrae; "Der Alchymist," Schuster; "Kein 
Dienst bleibt unbelohnt," (?); "Der Barbier von Sevilla," 
Paisiello; "Die schone Schusterin," Umlauf; "Lilla," Martini; 
"Die Geitzigen in der Falle," Schuster; "Nina," Dalayrae; "Dr. 
Murner," Schuster. On March 8, the season closed with a ballet 
by Horschelt, "Pyramus und Thisbe." The reporter in the 
"Theaterkalender" says: 

On Quinquagesima Sunday (March 6) the local nobility performed 
in the Ridotto Room a characteristic ballet in old German costume. 
The author. His Excellency Count Waldstein, to whom the composition 
and music do honor, had shown in it consideration for the chief proclivities 
of our ancestors for war, the chase, love and drinking. On March 8, all 
the nobility attended the theatre in their old German dress and the parade 
made a great, splendid and respectable picture. It was also noticeable 
that the ladies would lose none of their charms- were they to return to 
the costumes of antiquity. 

Before proceeding with this history a correction must be 
made in this report: the music to the "Ritterballet," which was 
the characteristic ballet referred to, was not composed by Count 
Waldstein but by Ludwig van Beethoven. We shall recur to it 
presently. Owing to a long-continued absence of the Elector, 
the principal singers and the greater part of the orchestra, the 



Operas at Bonn in 1792 109 

fourth season did not begin till the 28th of December, 1791. 
Between that date and February 20, 1792, the following musical 
works were performed: "Doktor und Apotheker," Dittersdorf; 
*'Robertund Caliste," Guglielmi; "Felix," Monsigny; "Die Dorf- 
deputirten," Schubauer; "Im Triiben ist gut Fischen" {Fra due 
Litiganti, il Terzo gode), Sarti; "Das rothe Kappchen," Dittersdorf; 
"Lilla," Martini; "Der Barbier von Sevilla," Paisiello; "Ende 
gut, Alles gut," music by the Electoral Captain d'Antoin; "Die 
Entfiihrung aus dem Serail," Mozart; "Die beiden Savoyarden" 
{Les deux petits Savoyards), Dalayrac. 

The fifth season began in October, 1792. Of the nine operas 
given before the departure of Maximilian and the company to 
Mlinster in December, "Die Mullerin" by De la Borde, "Konig 
Axur in Ormus" by Salieri, and "Hieronymus Knicker" bj^ Ditters- 
dorf, were the only ones new to Bonn; and in only the first two 
of these could Beethoven have taken part, unless at rehearsals; 
for at the beginning of November he left Bonn — and, as it proved, 
forever. Probably Salieri's masterpiece was his last opera within 
the familiar walls of the Court Theatre of the Elector of Cologne. 

Beethoven's eighteenth birtliday came around during the 
rehearsals for the first season, of this theatre; his twenty-second 
just after the beginning of the fifth. During four years (1788- 
1792) he was adding to his musical knowledge and experience in a 
direction wherein he has usually been represented as deficient — as 
active member of an operatic orchestra; and the catalogue of 
works performed shows that the best schools of the day, save 
that of Berlin, must have been thoroughly mastered by him in all 
their strength and weakness. Beethoven's titanic power and 
grandeur would have marked his compositions under any circum- 
stances; but it is very doubtful if, without the training of those 
years in the Electoral "Toxal, Kammer und Theater" as member 
of the orchestra, his works would have so abounded in melodies 
of such profound depths of expression, of such heavenly serenity 
and repose and of such divine beauty as they do, and which give 
him rank with the two greatest of melodists, Handel and Mozart. 



Chapter IX 



Gleanings of Musical Fact and Anecdote — Haydn in Bonn — 
A Rhine Journey — Abbe Sterkel — Beethoven Extem- 
porises — Social and Artistic Life in Bonn — Eleonore von 
Breuning — The Circle of Friends — Beethoven Leaves 
Bonn Forever — The Journey to Vienna. 

AS a pendant to the preceding sketches of Bonn's musical 
history a variety of notices belonging to the last three years 
of Beethoven's life in his native place are here brought to- 
gether in chronological order. Most of them relate to him person- 
ally, and some of them, through errors of date, have been looked 
upon hitherto as adding proofs of the precocity of his genius. 

Prof. Dr. Wurzer communicated to the "Kolnische Zeitung" 
of August 30, 1838, the following pleasant anecdote: 

In the summer of the year 1790 or 1791 I was one day on business 
in Godesberger Brunnen. After dinner Beethoven and another young 
man came up. I related to him that the church at Marienforst (a cloister 
in the woods behind Godesberg) had been repaired and renovated, and 
that this was also true of the organ, which was either wholly new or at 
least greatly improved. The company begged him to give them the 
pleasure of letting them hear him play on the instrument. His great 
good nature led him to grant our wish. The church was locked, but 
the prior was very obliging and had it unlocked for us. B. now began 
to play variations on themes given him by the party in a manner that 
moved us profoundly; but what was much more significant, poor laboring 
folk who were cleaning out the debris left by the work of repair, were so 
greatly aflfected by the music that they put down their implements and 
listened with obvious pleasure. Sit ei terra levis! 

The greatest musical event of the year (1790) in Bonn 
occurred just at its close — the visit of Joseph Haydn, on his way 
to London with Johann Peter Salomon, whose name so often 
occurs in the preliminary chapters of this work. Of this visit. 
Dies has recorded Haydn's own account: 

In the capital, Bonn, he was surprised in more ways than one. He 
reached the city on Saturday [Christmas, December 25] and set apart 

[110] 



Joseph Haydn's Visit to Bonn 111 

the next day for rest. On Sunday, Salomon accompanied Haydn to the 
court chapel to listen to mass. Scarcely had the two entered the church 
and found suitable seats when high mass began. The first chords 
announced a product of Haydn's muse. Our Haydn looked upon it as an 
accidental occurrence which had happened only to flatter him; neverthe- 
less it was decidedly agreeable to him to listen to his own composition. 
Toward the close of the mass a person approached and asked him to 
repair to the oratory, where he was expected. Haydn obeyed and was 
not a little surprised when he found that the Elector, Maximihan, had 
had him summoned, took him at once by the hand and presented him to 
the virtuosi with the words: "Here I make you acquainted with the Haydn 
whom you all revere so highly." The Elector gave both parties time 
to become acquainted with each other, and, to give Haydn a convincing 
proof of his respect, invited him to dinner. This unexpected invitation 
put Haydn into an embarrassing position, for he and Salomon had ordered 
a modest little dinner in their lodgings, and it was too late to make a 
change. Haydn was therefore fain to take refuge in excuses which the 
Elector accepted as genuine and sufficient. Haydn took his leave and 
returned to his lodgings, where he was made aware in a special manner 
of the good will of the Elector, at whose secret command the little dinner 
had been metamorphosed into a banquet for twelve persons to which 
the most capable musicians had been invited. 

Was the young musician one of these "most capable musi- 
cians".' Sunday evening, March 6th, came the performance of 
Beethoven's music to the "Ritterballet" before noticed; but 
without his name being known. Bossier's "Musikalische Cor- 
lespondenz" of July 13, 1791, contains a list of the "Cabinet, 
Chapel and Court Musicians of the Elector of Cologne." Names 
designated by an asterisk were "solo players who may justly 
be ranked with virtuosi"; two asterisks indicated composers. 
Four names only — those of Joseph Reicha, Perner and the two 
Rombergs — have the two stars; Beethoven has none. "Hr. 
Ludwig van Beethoven plays pianoforte concertos; Hr. Neefe 
plays accompaniments at court and in the theatre and at concerts. 
. . . Concertante violas are played by virtuoso violinists" — that is 
all, except that we learn that the Elector is losing interest in the 
instrument on whieii Beethoven played in the orchestra: "His 
Electoral Highness of Cologne seldom plays the viola nowadays, 
but finds amusement at the pianoforte with operas, etc., etc." 

At Mergentlieim, the capital of the Teutonic Order, a grand 
meeting of commanders and knights took place in the autumn 
of 1791, the Grand Master Maximilian Francis presiding, and 
the sessions continuing from Sei)tombor 18 to October 20, as appears 
from the records at Vienna. The Elector's stay there seems to 
have been protracted to a period of at least three months. 
During his visit there of equal length two years before, time 



112 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

probably dragged heavily, so this time ample provision was made 
for theatrical and musical amusement. Among the visiting 
theatrical troupes was one called the "Hausslersche Gesellschaft," 
which played in summer at Nuremberg, in winter in Miinster 
and Eichstadt. The entrepreneur was Baron von Bailaux, the 
chapelmaster Weber, the elder; and among the personnel were 
Herr Weber, the younger, and Madame Weber. From Max 
Weber's biography of his father it appears that these Webers 
were the brother and sister-in-law of Carl Maria von Weber, 
then a child of some five years. "The troupe," says the reporter 
of the "Theater-Kalender," "performs the choicest pieces and the 
grandest operas." So the father, Franz Anton von Weber, must 
have found himself at length in his own proper element, and still 
more so a year later, when he himself became the manager. 

This company for a time migrated to Mergentheim and 
resumed the title of "Kurfiirstliches Hoftheater." Beethoven 
soon came thither also. Did he, when in after years he met Carl 
Maria von Weber, remember him as a feeble child at Mergent- 
heim? Had his intercourse there with Fridolin von Weber, 
pupil of Joseph Haydn, any influence upon his determination 
soon after to become also that great master's pupil? 

Simonetti, Maximilian's favorite and very fine tenor con- 
cert-singer, and some twenty -five members of the electoral orches- 
tra, with Franz Ries as conductor — Reicha was too ill — inclu- 
ding Beethoven, the two Rombergs and the fine octet of wind- 
instruments, formed an equally ample provision for the strictly 
musical entertainments. Actors, singers, musicians — Simonetti 
and the women-singers excepted — most of them still young, all 
in their best years and at the age for its full enjoyment, made the 
journey in two large boats up the Rhine and Main. Before leav- 
ing Bonn the company assembled and elected Lux king of the 
expedition, who in distributing the high offices of his court con- 
ferred upon Bernhard Romberg and Ludwig van Beethoven the 
dignity of, and placed them in his service as, kitchen-boys — 
scullions. It was the pleasantest season of the year for such a 
journey, the summer heats being tempered by the coolness of the 
Rhine and the currents of air passing up and down the deep gorge 
of the river. Vegetation was at its best and brightest, and the 
romantic beauty of its old towns and villages had not yet suflFered 
either by the desolations of the wars soon to break upon them 
or by the resistless and romance-destroying march of "modern 
improvement." Coblenz and Mayence were still capitals of states, 
and the huge fortress Rheinfels was not yet a ruin. When Risbeck 



An Expedition up the Rhine 113 

passed down the Rhine ten years before, his boat "had a mast 
and sail, a flat deck with a railing, comfortable cabins with win- 
dows and some furniture, and in a general way in style was built 
like a Dutch yacht." In boats like this, no doubt, the jolly 
company made the slow and, under the circumstances, perhaps, 
tedious journey against the current of the "arrowy Rhine." But 
a glorious time and a merry they had of it. Want of speed was 
no misfortune to them, and in Beethoven's memory the little 
voyage lived bright and beautiful and was to him "a fruitful 
source of loveliest visions." 

The Bingerloch was then held to be a dangerous, as it cer- 
tainly was a difficult pass for boats ascending; for here the river, 
suddenly contracted to half its previous width, plunged amid 
long lines of rugged rocks into the gorge. So, leaving the boats 
to their conductors, the party ascended to the Niederwald; and 
there King Lux raised Beethoven to a higher dignity in his court — - 
Wegeler does not state what it was — and confirmed his appoint- 
ment by a diploma, or letters patent, dated on the heights above 
Riidesheim. To this important document was attached by thread 
ravelled from a sail, a huge seal of pitch, pressed into the cover 
of a small box, which gave to the instrument a right imposing 
look — like the Golden Bull at Frankfort. This diploma from the 
hand of his comic majesty was among the articles taken by the 
possessor to Vienna where Wegeler saw it, still carefully preserved, 
in 1796. 

At Aschaffenburg on the Main was tlie large summer palace 
of the Electors of Mainz; and here dwelt Abbe Sterkel, now a 
man of 40 years; a musician from his infancy, one of the first 
pianists of all Germany and without a rival in this part of it, 
except perhaps Vogler of Mannheim. His style both as composer 
and pianist had been refined and cultivated to the utmost, both 
in Germany and Italy, and his playing was in the highest degree 
light, graceful, pleasing — ^as Ries described it to Wegeler, "some- 
what ladylike." Ries and Simrock took the young Romberg 
and Bcellioven to i)ay their respects to the nuister, "who, com- 
plying with the general request, sat himself down to play. Beet- 
hoven, who up to this time," says Wegeler, "had not heard a 
great or celebrated y)ian()forte player, knew nothing of the finer 
nuances in the handling of the instrument; his playing was rude 
and hard. Now he stood with attention all on a .strain by the 
side of Sterkel"; for this grace and delicacy, if not power of execu- 
tion, which he now heard were a new revelation to him. After 
Sterkel had finished, the young Bonn concertplayer was invited 



114 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

to take his place at the instrument; but he naturally hesitated 
to exhibit himself after such a display. The shrewd Abbe, how- 
ever, brought him to it by a pretence of doubting his ability. 

A year or two before, Chapelmaster Vincenzo Righini, a col- 
league of Sterkel in the service of the Elector of Mayence, had 
published "Dodeci Ariette," one of which, "Vieni (Venni) Amore," 
was a melody with five vocal variations, to the same accompani- 
ment. Beethoven, taking this melody as his theme, had composed, 
dedicated to the Countess of Hatzfeld and published twenty-four 
variations for the pianoforte upon it. Some of these were very 
difficult, and Sterkel now expressed his doubts if their author 
could himself play them. His honor thus touched, "Beethoven 
played not only these variations so far as he could remember 
them (Sterkel could not find them), but went on with a number of 
others no less difficult, all to the great surprise of the listeners, 
perfectly, and in the ingratiating manner that had struck him in 
Sterkel's playing."^ 

Once in Mergentheim the merry monarch and his jolly sub- 
jects had other things to think of and seem to have made a noise 
in the world in more senses than one. At all events Carl Ludwig 
Junker, Chaplain at Kirchberg, the residence of Prince Hohenlohe, 
heard of them and then went over to hear them. Junker was a 
dilettante composer and the author of some half-dozen small works 
upon music — musical almanacs published anonymously, and the 
like, all now forgotten save by collectors, as are his pianoforte 
concertos — but at that time he was a man of no small mark in 
the musical world of Western Germany. He came over to Mergent- 
heim, was treated with great attention by the Elector's musicians, 
and showed his gratitude in a long letter to Bossier's "Cor- 
respondenz" (November 23, 1791), in which superlatives some- 
what abound, but which is an exquisite piece of gossip and gives 
the liveliest picture that exists of the "Kapelle." We have room 
for only a portion of it: 

Here I was also an eye-witness to the esteem and respect in which 
this chapel stands with the Elector. Just as the rehearsal was to begin 
Ries was sent for by the Prince, and upon his return brought a bag of 
gold. "Gentlemen," said he, "this being the Elector's name-day he 
sends you a present of a thousand thalers." And again, I was eye-witness 
of this orchestra's surpassing excellence. Herr Winneberger, Kapell- 
meister at Wallenstein, laid before it a symphony of his own composition, 

iWegeler's story of the meeting between Beethoven and Sterkel is confirmed in 
every detail by a letter from N. Simrock to Schindler, a copy of which was found among 
the posthumous papers of Thayer. 



Beethoven's Meeting With Sterkel 115 

which was by no means easy of execution, especially for the wind-instru- 
ments, which had several solos concertante. It went finely, however, at 
the first trial, to the great surprise of the composer. An hour after the 
dinner-music the concert began. It was opened with a symphony of 
Mozart; then followed a recitative and air sung by Simonetti; next, a 
violoncello concerto played by Herr Romberger [Bernhard Romberg]; 
fourthly, a symphony by Pleyel; fifthly, an air by Righini, sung by 
Simonetti; sixthly, a double concerto for violin and violoncello played 
by the two Rombergs; and the closing piece was the symphony of 
Winneberger, which had very many brilliant passages. The opinion 
already expressed as to the performance of this orchestra was confirmed. 
It was not possible to attain a higher degree of exactness. Such perfec- 
tion in the pianos, fortes, rinforzandos — such a swelling and gradual 
increase of tone and then such an almost imperceptible dying away, 
from the most powerful to the lightest accents — all this was formerly 
to be heard only in Mannheim. It would be difficult to find another 
orchestra in which the violins and basses are throughout in such excellent 
hands. . . . The members of the chapel, almost without exception, 
are in their best years, glowing with health, men of culture and fine per- 
sonal appearance. They form truly a fine sight, when one adds the 
splendid uniform in which the Elector has clothed them — red, and 
richly trimmed with gold. 

I heard also one of the greatest of pianists — the dear, good Bet- 
hofen, some compositions by whom appeared in the Spires "Blumenlese" 
in 1783, written in his eleventh year. True, he did not perform in public, 
probably the instrument here was not to his mind. It is one of Spath's 
make, and at Bonn he plays upon one by Steiner. But, what was infin- 
itely preferable to me, I heard him extemporize in private; yes, I was 
even invited to propose a theme for him to vary. The greatness of this 
amiable, light-hearted man, as a virtuoso, may in my opinion be safely 
estimated from his almost inexhaustible wealth of ideas, the altogether 
characteristic style of expression in his playing, and the great execution 
which he displays. I know, therefore, no one thing which he lacks, 
that conduces to the greatness of an artist. I have heard Vogler upon 
the pianoforte — of his organ playing I say noLliing, not having heard 
him upon that instrument — have often heard him, heard him by the 
the hour together, and never failed to wonder at his astonishing execu- 
tion; })ut Bethofen, in addition to the execution, has greater clearness 
and weight of idea, and more expression — in short, he is more for the 
heart — equally great, therefore, as an adagio or allegro player. Even 
the members of this remarkable orchestra are, without exceplloii, his 
admirers, and all ears when he plays. Yet he is exceedingly modest 
and free from all pretension. lie, however, acknowledged to me, that, 
u|)on the journeys which the Elector had enabled him to make, he had 
seldom found in the f)laying of the most distiiignished virtuosos that 
excellence which he supposed he had a right to expect, ilis style of 
treating his instrument is .so different from that usually adopted, that 
it impresses one with the idea, that by a path of his own discovery he 
has attained that height of excellence whereon h<; now stands. 

Had I af'ceded to the pressing entreaties of my friend Befhofen, 
to which Ilerr Winterberger added his own, and remained another day 



116 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

in Mergentheim, I have no doubt he would have played to me hours; 
and the day, thus spent in the society of these two great artists, would 
have been transformed into a day of the highest bliss. 

There is one passage in this exceedingly valuable and inter- 
esting letter which, in the present state of knowledge of Beethoven's 
youth, is utterly inexplicable. It is this: "Yet he is exceedingly 
modest and free from all pretension. He, however, acknowl- 
edged to me that upon the journeys which the Elector had en- 
abled him to make, he had seldom found in the playing of the 
most distinguished virtuosos that excellence which he supposed 
he had a right to expect." What were the journeys.'^ Who can 
tell.^ 

There is but one more to add to these musical reminiscences 
of that period — another visit of Joseph Haydn, who, having 
changed the plan of his route, returned in July via Bonn from 
London to Vienna. The electoral orchestra gave him a break- 
fast at Godesberg and there Beethoven laid before him a cantata 
"which received the particular attention of Haydn, who encouraged 
its author to continue study." It is not improbable that the 
arrangements were in part now made under which the young 
composer became a few months later the pupil of the veteran. 

Many a eulogy has been written upon Max Franz for his 
supposed protection of, and favors granted to, the young Beet- 
hoven. It has, however, already been made clear that except 
the gracious reprimand at the time when the singer Heller was 
made the subject of the boy's joke, all the facts and anecdotes upon 
which those eulogies are based belong to a much later than the 
supposed period. The appointment of Beethoven as Chamber 
Musician (1789) was no distinguishing mark of favor. Half a 
dozen other youths of his age shared it with him. His being made 
Court Pianist was a matter of course; for whom had he as a rival? 
Had he been in any great degree a favorite of the Elector, what 
need had there been of his receiving from Waldstein, as Wegeler 
states, "much pecuniary assistance bestowed in such a way as 
to spare his sensibilities, it being generally looked upon as a small 
gratuity from the Elector.'^" One general remark may be made 
here which has a bearing upon this point, namely: that Beet- 
hoven's dedications of important works throughout his life were, 
as a rule, made to persons from whom he had received, or from 
whom he had hopes of receiving, pecuniary benefits. Indeed, in one 
notable case where such a dedication produced him nothing, he 
never forgot nor forgave the omission. Had he felt that Maxi- 
milian was in any single instance really generous toward him, 



Barbara Koch; Eleonore von Breuning 117 

why did he never dedicate any work to him? TMiy in all the 
correspondence, private memoranda and recorded conversations, 
which have been examined for this work, has Beethoven never 
mentioned him either in terms of gratitude, or in any manner 
whatever? All idea that his relations to the Elector were different 
from those of Bernhard Romberg, Franz Ries or Anton Reicha, 
must be given up. He was organist, pianist, member of the 
orchestra; and for these services received his pay like others. 
There is no proof of more, no indication of less. 

But with Waldstein, the case was otherwise. The young 
count, eight years older than Beethoven, coming direct from 
Vienna, where his family connections gave him access to the salons 
of the very highest rank of the nobility, was thoroughly acquainted 
with the noblest and best that the imperial capital could show 
in the art of music. Himself more than an ordinary dilettante, 
he could judge of the youth's powers and became his friend. We 
have seen that he used occasionally to go to the modest room in 
the Wenzelgasse, that he even employed Beethoven to compose 
his "Ritterballet" music, and we shall see, that he foretold the 
future eminence of the composer and that the name, Beethoven, 
would stand next those of Mozart and Haydn on the roll of fame. 
Waldstein's name, too, is in Beethoven's roll of fame; it stands 
in the list of those to whom important works are dedicated. The 
dedication of the twenty-four variations on "Venni Amore" to 
the Countess Hatzfeld indicates, if it does not prove, that Beet- 
hoven's deserts were neither unknown nor unacknowledged at 
her house. 

At that time the favorite places of resort for the professors 
of the new university and for young men whose education and 
position at court or in society were such as to make them welcome 
guests, was the house on the Market-place now known as the 
Zehrgarten; and there, says Frau Karth, Beethoven was in the 
liabit of going. A large portion of this house was let in lodgings, 
and it is said that Eugene Beauluirnais, with his wife and children, 
at one time occupied the first floor. Its mistress was the Widow 
Koch who s])read also a table for a select conipjiny of boarders. 
Her name, too, often ap[)ears in the 'Tntelligtn/blatl" of Bonn 
in advertisements of books and music. Of her three children, 
a son and two daughters, the beautiful Barbara — the Babette 
Koch mentioned in a letter of B<'etlioven's — was the belle of 
Bonn. Wegeler's eulogy of her ("Notizen," j). 58) contains the 
names of several members of that circle whom, doubtless, the 
young composer so often met at the house. 



118 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

She was a confidential friend of Eleonore von Breuning, a lady 
who of all the representatives of the female sex that I met in a rather 
active and long life came nearest the ideal of a perfect woman — an opinion 
which is confirmed by all who had the good fortune to know her well. 
She was surrounded not only by young artists like Beethoven, the two 
Rombergs, Reicha, the twin brothers Kiigelchen and others, but also by 
the intellectual men of all classes and ages, such as D. Crevelt, Prof. 
Velten, who died early, Fischenich, who afterward became Municipal 
Councillor, Prof. Thaddaus Dereser, afterward capitular of the cathedral, 
Wrede, who became a bishop, Meckel and Floret, secretaries of the 
Elector, Malchus, private secretary of the Austrian minister von Kever- 
berg, later Government Councillor of Holland, Court Councillor von 
Bourscheidt, Christian von Breuning and many others. 

About the time Beethoven left Bonn for Vienna, the wife of 
Count Anton von Belderbusch, nephew of the deceased minister 
of that name, had deserted her husband for the embraces of a 
certain Baron von Lichtenstein, and Babette Koch was engaged 
as governess and instructress of the motherless children. In 
process of time Belderbusch obtained a divorce (under the French 
law) from his adulterous wife and married the governess, August 
9, 180^2. 

But it was in the Breuning house that Beethoven enjoyed 
and profited most. The mother's kindness towards him gave 
her both the right and the power to urge and compel him to the 
performance of his duties; and this power over him in his obstinate 
and passionate moods she possessed in a higher degree than any 
other person. Wegeler gives an anecdote in point: Baron West- 
phal von Fiirstenberg, until now in the service of the Elector, 
w^as appointed minister to the Dutch and Westphalian Circuit 
and to the courts of Cologne and Treves, his headquarters being 
at Bonn. He resided in the large house which is now occupied 
by the post-office, directly behind the statue of him who was en- 
gaged as music teacher in the count's family. The Breuning 
house was but a few steps distant diagonally across a corner of 
the square. Here Madame von Breuning was sometimes com- 
pelled to use her authority and force the young man to go to his 
lessons. Knowing that she was watching him he would go, ut 
iniquoe mentis asellus, but sometimes at the very door would turn 
back and excuse himself on the plea that to-day it was impossible 
to give a lesson — to-morrow he w^ould give two; to which, as upon 
other occasions w^hen reasoning with him was of no avail, the good 
lady w^ould shrug her shoulders with the remark: "He has his 
rajptus again," an expression which the rapt Beethoven never 
forgot. Most happy was it for him that in Madame von Breuning 



Beethoven in the Breuning House 119 

he had a friend who understood his character thoroughly, who 
cherished affection for him, who could and did so effectually act 
as peace-maker when the harmony between him and her children 
was disturbed. Schindler is a witness that just for this phase 
of her motherly care Beethoven, down to the close of life, was 
duly grateful. 

In his later days he still called the members of this family his 
guardian angels of that time and remembered with pleasure the many 
reprimands which he had received from the lady of the house. "She 
understood," said he, "how to keep insects off the flowers." By insects 
he meant certain friendships which had already begun to threaten danger 
to the natural development of his talent and a proper measure of artistic 
consciousness by awakening vanity in him by their flatteries. He was 
already near to considering himself a famous artist, and therefore more 
inclined to give heed to those who encouraged him in his illusions than 
such as set before him the fact that he had still to learn everything that 
makes a master out of a disciple. 

This is well said, is very probable in itself, and belongs in 
the category of facts as to which Schindler is a trustworthy 
witness. 

Stephan von Breuning became so good a violinist as to play 
occasionally in the electoral orchestra. As he grew older, and 
the comparative difference in age between him and Beetlioven 
lessened, the acquaintance between them became one of great 
intimacy. Fran Karth says he was a frequent visitor in the 
Wenzelgasse, and she had a lively recollection of "the noise they 
used to make with their music" in the room overhead. Lenz, 
the youngest of the Breunings, was but fifteen when his teacher 
left Bonn, but a few years after he became a pupil of Beethoven 
again in Vienna and became a good pianist. For him the com- 
poser seems to have cherished a warm affection, one to which 
the seven years' difference in their ages gave a peculiar tender- 
ness. It has been supposed that Beethoven at one time indulged 
a warmer feeling than mere friendship for Eleonorc von Breuning; 
})ut tliis idea is utterly unsui)ported l)y anything wliich has been 
discovered during the incpiiries made for this work. 

Beethoven's remarkable powers of improvising were often 
exhibited at the Breuning house. Wegeler has an anecdote here: 

Once when Beethoven was improvising at the house of the Breunings 
(on which oc-casions he used frequently to he asked to churacterize in 
the music some well-known person) Father Ries was urged to accompany 
him upon the violin. After some hesitation he consented, and this may 
have been the first time that two artists improvised a duo. 



120 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Beethoven had in common with all men of original and 
creative genius a strong repugnance to the drudgery of forcing 
the elements of his art into dull brains and awkward fingers; but 
that this repugnance was "extraordinary," as Wegeler says, does 
not appear. A Frau von Bevervorde, one of his Bonn pupils, 
assured Schindler that she never had any complaint to make of 
her teacher in respect to either the regularity of his lessons or 
his general course of instruction. Nor is there anything now 
to be gathered from the traditions at Vienna which justifies the 
epithet. Ries's experience is not here in point, for his relations 
to Beethoven were like those of little Hummel to Mozart. He 
received such instruction gratis as the master in leisure moments 
felt disposed to give. There was no pretence of systematic teach- 
ing at stated hours. The occasional neglect of a lesson at Baron 
Westphal's, as detailed in the anecdote above given, may be ex- 
plained on other ground than that of extraordinary repugnance 
to teaching. Beethoven was, in 1791-'92, just at the age when 
the desire for distinction was fresh and strong; he was conscious of 
powers still not fully developed; his path was diverse from that 
of the other young men with whom he associated and who, from 
all that can be gathered now on the subject, had little faith in 
that which he had chosen. He must have felt the necessity of 
other instruction, or, at all events, of better opportunities to com- 
pare his powers with those of others, to measure himself by a 
higher standard, to try the effect of his compositions in another 
sphere, to satisfy himself that his instincts as a composer were 
true and that his deviations from the beaten track were not wild 
and capricious. Waldstein, we know from Wegeler (and this 
is confirmed by his own words), had faith in him and his works, 
and it will be seen that another, Fischenich, had also. But 
what would be said of him and his compositions in the city of 
Mozart, Haydn, Gluck? To this add the restlessness of an am- 
bitious youth to whom the routine of duties, which must long 
since in great measure have lost the charm of novelty, had become 
tedious, and the natural longing of young men for the great world, 
for a wider field of action, had grown almost insupportable. 

Or Beethoven's raptus may just then have had a very differ- 
ent origin; Jeannette d'Honrath, or Fraulein Westerhold, was 
perhaps the innocent cause — two young ladies whose names are 
preserved by Wegeler of the many for whom he says his friend 
at various times indulged transient, but not the less ardent, pas- 
sions. The former was from Cologne, whence she occasionally 
came to Bonn to pass a few weeks with Eleonore von Breuning. 



Beethoven's Sweethearts in Bonn 121 

"She was a beautiful, vivacious blond, of good education," says 
Wegeler, "and amiable disposition, who enjoyed music greatly and pos- 
sessed an agreeable voice; wherefore she several times teased our friend 
by singing a song, familiar at the time, beginning: 

'Mich heute noch von dir zu trennen 
Und dieses nicht verhindern konnen, 

1st zu empfindlich fiir mein Herz!' 

for the favored rival was the Austrian recruiting officer in Cologne, 
Carl Greth, who married the young lady and died on October 15, 1827, 
as Field Marshal General, Commander of the 23rd Regiment of Infantry 
and Commandant at Temesvar."^ 

The passion for Miss d'Honrath was eclipsed by a subsequent 
fancy for a Fraulein von Westerhold. The Court Calendars of 
these years name "Hochfiirstlich Miinsterischer Obrist-Stall- 
meister, Sr. Excellenz der Hochwohlgeborne Herr Friedrich 
Rudolph Anton, Freyherr von Westerhold-Giesenberg, kurkol- 
nischer und Hochstift-Miinsterischer Geheimrath." This much 
betitled man, according to Neefe (Spazier's "Berlin. Mus. Zeitung"), 

played the bassoon himself and maintained a fair band among his ser- 
vants, particularly players of wind-instruments. He had two sons, one 
of whom was a master of the flute, and two daughters. The elder 
daughter — the younger was still a child — Maria Anna Wilhelmine, was 
born on July 24, 1774, married Baron Friedrich Clemens von Elverfeldt, 
called von Beverfode-Werries, on April 24, 1792, and died on November 
3, 1852. She was an excellent pianist. In MUnster, Neefe heard "the 
fiery Mad. von Elverfeldt play a difficult sonata by Sardi (not Sarti) 
with a rapidity and accuracy that were marvellous." 

It is not .surprising that Beethoven's talent should have met 
with recognition and appreciation in this musical family. He 
became the young woman's teacher, and as the cliief equerry 
Count Westerliold bad to accompany the Elector on his visits to 
IVIiinster, where, moreover, he owned a house, there is a tradition 
in the family that young Beethoven went with them before the 
young lady's marriage in 1790. She it was with whom Beethoven 
was now in love. He had the disease violently, nor did lu' "let 
concealment, like a worm i' tli' bud," feed upon Iiis cheek. Forty 
years afterward Bernhard Romberg had anecdotes to relate of 
tliis "Werther love." 

The strong doubt that any such feeling for Eleonore von 
Breuning was ever cherished by Beethoven has already been 
expressed. The letters to her from Vienna printed by Wegeler, 

'In one of tlip Bcethovc-n conversation hooks, anno \Hifi, may l>f read in Schindler's 
handwriting: "Captain v. Greth's address, Coiuiuandant in Tcincsvar." 



122 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

and other correspondence still in manuscript, confirm this doubt 
by their general tone; but that a really warm friendship existed 
between tliem and continued down to the close of his life, with a 
single interruption just before he left Bonn, of the cause of 
which nothing is known, so much is certain. Among the few 
souvenirs of youthful friendship which he preserved was the 
following compliment to him on his twentieth birthday, sur- 
rounded by a wreath of flowers: 

ZU B'S GEBURTSTAG VON SEINER SCHULERIN. 

Gliick und langes Leben 

Wlinsch ich heute dir; 
Aber auch daneben 

Wiinsch ich etwas mir! 

Mir in Riicksicht deiner 

Wiinsch ich deine Huld, 
Dir in Riicksicht meiner 

Nachsicht und Geduld. 

1790 Von Ihrer Freundin u. Schiilerin 

Lorchen von Breuning.^ 

Another was a silhouette of Fraulein von Breuning. Referring 
to Beethoven's allusion to this in a letter to Wegeler (1825) the 
latter says: "In two evenings the silhouettes of all the members 
of the von Breuning family and more intimate friends of the house, 
were made by the painter Neesen of Bonn. In this way I came 
into the possession of that of Beethoven which is here printed. 
Beethoven was probably in his sixteenth year at the time"; — far 
more probably in his nineteenth, the reader will say. 

To the point of Beethoven's susceptibility to the tender 
passion let Wegeler again be cited : 

The truth as I learned to know it, and also my brother-in-law 
Stephan von Breuning, Ferdinand Ries, and Bernhard Romberg, is 
that there was never a time when Beethoven was not in love, and that 
in the highest degree. These passions, for the Misses d'Honrath and 
Westerhold, fell in his transition period from youth to manhood, and 
left impressions as little deep as were those made upon the beauties who 
had caused them. In Vienna, at all events so long as I lived there, 
Beethoven was always in love and occasionally made a conquest which 
would have been very difficult if not impossible for many an Adonis. 

'From the Fischoff Manuscript. The verbal play can scarcely be given in English 
rhymed couplets. The sentiment is: "Happiness and long life I wish you to-day, but 
something do I crave for myself from you — your regard, your forbearance and your 
patience." 



The Suggestion of Haydn as Teacher 123 

A review of some of the last pages shows that for the most 
part after 1789 the life of Beethoven was a busy one, but that the 
frequent absences of the Elector, as recorded in the newspapers 
of the day, left many a period of considerable duration during 
which, except for the meetings of the orchestra for rehearsal and 
study, he had full command of his time. Thus he had plenty of 
leisure hours and weeks to devote to composition, to instruction 
in music, for social intercourse, for visits to Kerpen and other 
neighboring places, for the indulgence of his strong propensity 
to ramble in the fields and among the mountains, for the cultiva- 
tion in that beautiful Rhine region of his warm passion for nature. 

The new relations to his father and brothers, as virtual head 
of the family, were such as to relieve his mind from anxiety on 
their account. His position in society, too, had become one of 
which he might justly be proud, owing, as it was, to no adventi- 
tious circumstances, but simply to his genius and high personal 
character. Of illness in those years we hear nothing, except 
.Wegeler's remark ("Notizen," 11): "^Vhen the famous organist 
Abbe Vogler played in Bonn (1790 or 1791) I sat beside Beethoven's 
sickbed"; a mere passing attack, or Wegeler would have vouch- 
safed it a more extended notice in his subsequent remarks upon 
his friend's health. Thus these were evidently happy years, in 
spite of certain characteristic and gloomy expressions of Beet- 
hoven in letters hereafter to be given, and years of active intel- 
lectual, artistic and moral development. 

The probability that in July, 1792, it had been proposed to 
Haydn to take Beethoven as a pupil has been mentioned; but 
it is pretty certain that the suggestion did not come from the 
Elector, who, there is little doubt, was in Frankfort at the corona- 
tion of his nephew Emperor Franz (July 14) at the time of Haydn's 
visit. The indefatigable Karajan^ is unable to determine pre- 
cisely when the composer left London or reached Vienna; but 
it is known he was in the former city after July 1st and in the 
latter before August 4th. Whatever arrangements may have been 
made between the pupil and master, they were subject to the will 
of the Elector, and here Waldstein may well have exerted himself 
to his j)rotege's advantage. At all events, the result was favor- 
able and the journey determined upon. Perhaj)s, had Haydn 
found Maximilian in Bonn, he miglit have taken the young man 
witli him; as it was, some months elapsed before his j)upil could 
follow. 

'"J. Haydn in London," page 53. 



124 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Some little space must be devoted to the question, whence 
the pecuniary resources for so expensive a journey to and sojourn 
in Vienna were derived. The good-hearted Neefe did not forget 
to record the event in very flattering terms when he wrote next 
year in Spazier's "Berliner Musik-Zeitung" : 

In November of last year Ludwig van Beethoven, assistant court 
organist and unquestionably now one of the foremost pianoforte players, 
went to Vienna at the expense of our Elector to Haydn in order to perfect 
himself under his direction more fully in the art of composition. 

In a note he adds: 

Inasmuch as this L. v. B. according to several reports is said to be 
making great progress in art and owes a part of his education to Herr 
Neefe in Bonn, to whom he has expressed his gratitude in writing, it may 
be well (Herr N's modesty interposing no objection) to append a few 
words here, since, moreover, they redound to the credit of Herr B.: "I 
thank you for your counsel very often given me in the course of my 
progress in my divine art. If ever I become a great man, yours will be 
some of the credit. This will give you the greater pleasure, since you 
can remain convinced, etc." 

"At the expense of our Elector" — so says Neefe; so, too, 
Fischenich says of Beethoven "whom the Elector has sent to 
Haydn in Vienna." Maximilian, then, had determined to show 
favor to the young musician. This idea is confirmed by Beet- 
hoven's noting, in the small memorandum book previously re- 
ferred to, the reception soon after reaching Vienna of 25 ducats 
and his disappointment that the sum had not been a hundred. 
(A receipt for his salary, 25 th. for the last quarter of this year, 
still in the Diisseldorf archives, is dated October 22, and seems at 
first sight to prove an advance per favor; but many others in 
the same collection show that payments were usually made about 
the beginning of the second month of each quarter.) There is 
also a paper in the Diisseldorf collection, undated, but clearly only 
a year or two after Beethoven's departure, by which important 
changes are made in the salaries of the Elector's musicians. In 
this list Beethoven does not appear among those paid from the 
Landrentmeisterei (i.e., the revenues of the state), but is to receive 
from the Chaioiiille (privy purse) 600 florins — a sum equivalent 
to the hundred ducats which he had expected in vain. It is true 
these changes were never carried out, but the paper shows the 
Elector's intentions. 

With such facts before us, how is Beethoven to be relieved 
of the odium of ingratitude to his benefactor.'^ By the circum- 
stance that, for anything that appears, the good intentions of 



The Limit of ]\L\ximilian's Favor 125 

the Elector — excepting in an increase of salary hereafter to be 
noted, and the transmission of the 25 ducats — were never carried 
out; and the young musician, after receiving his quarterly pay- 
ment two or three times, was left entirely dependent upon his 
own resources. Maximilian's justification lies in the sea of troubles 
by which he was so soon to be overwhelmed. 

That the 100 ducats were not advanced to Beethoven before 
leaving Bonn is easily accounted for. In October, 1792, the French 
revolutionary armies were approaching the Rhine. On the 22nd 
they entered Mayence; on the 24th and 25th the archives and 
funds of the court at Bonn were packed up and conveyed down 
the Rhine. On the 31st the Elector, accompanied by the Prince 
of Neuwied, reached Cleve on his first flight from his capital. 
It was a time of terror. All the principal towns of the Rhine 
region, Treves, Coblenz, etc., even Cologne, were deserted by the 
higher classes of the inhabitants. Perhaps it was owing to this 
that Beethoven obtained permission to leave Bonn for Vienna 
just then instead of waiting until the approaching theatrical and 
musical season had passed. But with the treasury removed to 
Dusseldorf, he had to content himself with just suflBcient funds 
to pay his way to Vienna and the promise of more to be forwarded 
thither. 

Beethoven's departure from Bonn called forth lively interest 
on the part of his friends. The plan did not contemplate a long 
sojourn in the Austrian capital; it was his purpose, after com- 
pleting his studies there, to return to Bonn and thence to go forth 
on artistic tours. ^ This is proved by an autograph album dating 
from his last days in Bonn, which some of his intimate friends, 
obviously those with whom he was wont to associate at the Zehr- 
garten, sent with him on his way, now preserved in the Imperial 
Library at Vienna. The majority of the names are familiar to 
us, but many which one might have expected to find, notably 
those of the musicians of Bonn, are missing. Eleonore von 
Breuning's contribution was a ciuotation from Herder: 

Freundschaft, mit dem Gutcn, 
Wiichset wie dcr Aheudschatten, 
Bis des Lebens Sonne sinkt.^ 

Bonn, den 1. November Ihre wahre Freundin Eleonore 

1792 Breuning. 

'Neefc rflatos that on his second visit to E^ngland, Haydn had contemplated taking 
Beethoven with him. 

*"F"riendship. with that which is good, grows like the evening shadow till the set- 
ting of the sun of life." 



126 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Most interesting of all the inscriptions in the album, however, 
is that of Count Waldstein, which was first published by Schindler 
(Vol. I, p. 18) from a copy procured for him by Aloys Fuchs. It 
proves how great were the writer's hopes, how strong his faith 
in Beethoven: 

Dear Beethoven! You are going to Vienna in fulfillment of your 
long-frustrated wishes. The Genius of Mozart is mourning and weeping 
over the death of her pupil. She found a refuge but no occupation with 
the inexhaustible Haydn; through him she wishes to form a union with 
another. With the help of assiduous labor you shall receive Mozart's 
spirit from Haydn's hands. 

Your true friend 

Bonn, October 29, 1792. Waldstein. 

The dates in the album prove that Beethoven was still in 
Bonn on November 1, 1792, and indicate that it was the last day 
of his sojourn there. In Duten's "Journal of Travels," as trans- 
lated and augmented by John Highmore, Gent. (London, 1782) 
— a Baedeker's or Murray's handbook of that time^the post- 
road from Bonn to Frankfort-on-the-Main is laid down as passing 
along the Rhine via Andernach to Coblenz, and thence, crossing 
the river at Ehrenbreitstein, via Montabaur, Limburg, WUrges 
and Konigstein; — corresponding to the route advertised in the 
"Intelligenzblatt" a few years later — time 25 hours, 43 minutes. 

This was the route taken by Beethoven and some unknown 
companion. Starting from Bonn at 6 a.m. they would, according 
to Dutens and Highmore, dine at Coblenz about 3 p.m. and be 
in Frankfort about 7 next morning. 

The first three pages of the memorandum book above cited 
contain a record of the expenses of this journey as far as WUrges. 
One of the items is this: "Trinkgeld (pourboire) at Coblenz because 
the fellow drove like the devil right through the Hessian army at 
the risk of a cudgelling, one small thaler." This army marched 
from Coblenz on November 5; but on the same day a French 
corps, having advanced from Mayence beyond Limburg, took 
possession of Weilburg. The travellers could not, therefore, have 
journeyed through Limburg later than the night of the 3rd. We 
conclude, then, that it was between November 1st and 3rd that 
Beethoven bade farewell to Bonn, and at Ehrenbreitstein saw 
Father Rhine for the last time. 

The temptation is too strong to be resisted to add here the 
contents of the three pages of the memorandum book devoted to 
this journey, and the reasonings — fancies, if the reader prefers 
the term — drawn from them, upon which is founded the assertion 



The Journey to Vienna 127 

that Beethoven had a travelling companion. This is probable 
in itself, and is confirmed by, first, two handwritings; second, 
the price paid for post-horses (thus, the first entry is for a station 
and a quarter at 50 Siiiber, the regular price being one florin, or 
40 Stiiber per horse for a single passenger; there were, therefore, 
two horses and 10 Stiiber extra per post for the second passenger) ; 
third, the word "us" in the record of the Trinkgeld at Coblenz; 
fourth, the accounts cease at Wiirges, but they would naturally 
have been continued to Vienna had they been noted down by 
Beethoven from motives of economy; fifth, the payment of 2 fl. 
for dinner and supper is certainly more than a young man, not 
overburdened with money, would in those days have spent at 
the post-house. 

AYe may suppose, then, that the companions have reached 
the end of their journey in common, and sit down to compute and 
divide the expenses. Beethoven hands his blank-book to his 
friend, who writes thus: 

(Page 1) From Bonn to Remagen, 1 1-4 Stat, at 50 Stbr. . 3 fl. 

From Remag. to Andernach, 1 1-2 St 3.45 

Tip 45 

Tolls 45 

From Andernach to Coblenz, 1 St 3. 

Tips to Andernach 50 

" to Coblenz 

Tolls to Andernach 42 

Tolls to Coblenz 

These last three items are not carried out, and Beethoven 
now takes the book and adds the items of the "Tolls to Andernach" 
thus: 

Sinzig. ... 7 St(uber) Reinicke 5 St. 

Preissig... 10 St. Norich 4 1-2 St. 

These 26 Stiiber, changed into Kreutzers, make up the 42 in 
the column above. On the next page he continues: 

(Page 2) Coblenz, tolls 30 x 

Rothehahncn (Red Cocks) 24 x 

Coblenz to Montebaur 2 rthlr. and 1-2 d 

Tolls for Coblenz 48 x 

Tip l>ec;iu,sc the fellow drovt; like the devil rij^'ht 
thronj.,'li the Hessian army at the risk of a 

cudgelling one small thaler 

Ate dinner 2 fl. 

Post from ^Montebaur to Limburg 3 fl. 57 x 

10 X road money 
15 X " 



128 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

(Page 3) Supper 2 fl. 

in Limburg 12 Batzen 

Tips 14 X 

Grease money 14 x 

Tip for postillion 1 fl. 

The other hand now writes: 

The same money for meals and tips, besides 12 x 
road money to Wirges. 

The entries of the second and third pages are now changed 
into florin currency and brought together, making 22 fl. and 14 x; 
add the expenses on the first page to this sum and we have a total 
of about 35 fl. from Bonn to Wiirges for two young men travelling 
day and night, and no doubt as economically as was possible. 

The next entries are by Beethoven's hand in Vienna, and we 
are left to imagine his arrival in Frankfort and his departure thence 
via Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau and Linz in the public post- 
coach for Vienna. Proof will be found hereafter that he was in 
that city on or before November 10th, and that Schindler (Vol. I, 
p. 19) therefore confounds this journey with that of 1787, and 
is all wrong when he says "they travelled very slowly and the 
money which they had taken along was exhausted before they 
had traversed half the journey." 



Chapter X 



Beethoven's Creative Activity in Bonn— An Inquiry into 
the Genesis of Many Compositions — The Cantatas on 
the Death of Joseph II and the Elevation of Leopold 
II — Songs, the "Ritterballet," the Octet and Other 
Chamber Pieces. 

BUT for the outbreak of the French Revolution, Bonn seems 
to have been destined to become a brilliant centre of learning 
and art. Owing to the Elector's taste and love for music, that 
art became — what under the influence of Goethe poetry and drama 
were in Weimar — the artistic expression and embodiment of the 
intellectual character of the time. In this art, among musicians 
and composers, Beethoven, endowed with a genius whose orig- 
inality has rarely if ever been surpassed, "lived, moved and had 
his being." His official superiors, Lucchesi, Reicha, Neefe, were 
indefatigable in their labors for the church, the stage and the 
concert-room; his companions, Andreas Perner, Anton Reicha, 
the Rombergs, were prolific in all the forms of composition from 
the set of variations to even the opera and oratorios; and in the 
performance of their productions, as organist, pianist and viola 
player, he, of course, assisted. The trophies of IVIiltiades allowed 
no rest to Themistocles. Did the applause bestowed upon the 
scenes, duos, trios, quartets, symphonies, operas of his friends 
awaken no spirit of emulation in him? Was he contented to be 
the mere performer, leaving composition to others.'* And yet 
what a "beggarly account" is the list of compositions known to 
belong to this period of his life!^ Calling to mind the activity of 
others, particularly jMozart, developed in their boyhood, and 

'The disroverips made after Thayer romplefed and printed his first volume in 
German (1860), largely inspired by his labors, have made a thorough revision of this 
chapter imperative. In all that follows the editor has aeeepted the statemont of farts 
made by Dr. Deiters in his revised version of the first volume published in 11)01, but, in 
pursuance of his plan as set forth in the introduction, has omitted that which seemed to 
him more or less incoDsequcntial, as well as that which belongs ia the field of analysis 
and criticism. 

I 129 1 



130 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

reflecting on the incentives which were offered to Beethoven 
in Bonn, one may well marvel at the small number and the small 
significance of the compositions which preceded the Trios Op. 1, 
with which, at the age of 24 years, he first presented himself to 
the world as a finished artist. But a change has come over the 
picture in the progress of time. Not only are the beginnings of 
many works which he presented to the world at a late day as the 
ripe products of his genius to be traced back to the Bonn period; 
fate has also made known to us compositions of his youth which, 
for a long time, were lost in whole or in part, and which, in connec- 
tion with the three great pianoforte quartets of 1785, not only 
disclose a steady progress, but also discover the self-developed 
individual artist at a much earlier date than has heretofore been 
accepted. Now that we are again in possession of the cantatas 
and other fruits of the Bonn period, or have learned to know them 
better as such, we are able to free ourselves from the old notion 
which presented Beethoven as a slowly and tardily developed 
master. 

The most interesting of Beethoven's compositions in the Bonn 
period are unquestionably the cantatas on the death of Joseph II 
and the elevation of Leopold II. Beethoven did not bring them 
either to performance or publication; they were dead to the world. 
Nottebohm called attention to the fact that manuscript copies 
of their scores were announced in the auction catalogue of the 
library of Baron de Beine in April, 1813. It seems probable that 
Hummel purchased them at that time; at any rate, after his death 
they found their way from his estate into the second-hand book- 
shop of List and Francke in Leipsic, where they were bought in 1884 
by Armin Fridmann of Vienna. Dr. Eduard Hanslick acquainted 
the world with the rediscovered treasures in a feuilleton published 
in the "Neue Freie Presse" newspaper of Vienna on May 13, 1884, 
and the funeral cantata was performed for the first time at Vienna 
in November, 1884, and at Bonn on June 29, 1885.^ Both cantatas 
were then included in the Complete Works of Beethoven published 
by Breitkopf and Hartel. The "Cantata on the Death of Joseph 
the Second, composed by L. van Beethoven," was written between 
March and June, 1790. The Emperor died on February 20th, 
and the news of his death reached Bonn on February 24th. The 

^There have been a few performances of this cantata in Austria and Germany 
since its publication. It was given at a concert of the Beethoven Association in New 
York on March 16, 1920, under the direction of Mr. Sam Franko, with an English para- 
phrase of the text by the Editor of this biography, designed to rid it of its local applica- 
tion and some of its bombast and make its sentiment applicable to any heroic emanci- 
pator. 



Cantata on the Death of Joseph II 131 

Lesegesellschaft at once planned a memorial celebration, which 
took place on March 19th. At a meeting held to make prepara- 
tions for the function on February 28, Prof. Eulogius Schneider 
(who delivered the memorial address) expressed the wish that 
a musical feature be incorporated in the programme and said that 
a young poet had that day placed a poem in his hands which only 
needed a setting from one of the excellent musicians who were 
members of the society or a composer from elsewhere. Beet- 
hoven's most influential friends, at the head of them Count Wald- 
stein, were members of the society. Here, therefore, we have 
beyond doubt the story of how Beethoven's composition originated. 
The minutes of the last meeting for preparation, held on March 17, 
state that "for various reasons the proposed cantata cannot be 
performed." Among the various reasons may have been the 
excessive difficulty of the parts for the wind-instruments which, 
according to Wegeler, frustrated a projected performance at Mer- 
gentheim; though it is also possible that Beethoven, who was 
notoriously a slow worker, was unable to complete the music in 
the short time which was at his disposal. The text of the cantata 
was written by Severin Anton Averdonk, son of an employee 
of the electoral Bureau of Accounts, and brother of the court 
singer Johanna Helene Averdonk, who, in her youth, was for a 
space a pupil of Johann van Beethoven. Beethoven set the young 
pwet's ode for solo voice, chorus and orchestra without trumpets 
and drums. Brahms, on playing through the score, remarked: 
**It is Beethoven through and through. Even if there were no 
name on the title-page none other than that of Beethoven could 
be conjectured." The same tiling may be said of the "Cantata 
on the Elevation of Leopold II to the Imperial Dignity, composed 
by L. V. Beethoven." Leopold's election as Roman Emperor 
took place on September 30, 1790, his coronation on October 9, 
when Elector Max Franz was present at Frankfort. This gives 
us a hint as to the date of the composition. Whether or not the 
Elector conmiissioned it cannot be said. Averdonk was again 
the poet. The two cantatas mark the culmination of Beethoven's 
creative labors in Bonn; they show his artistic individuality 
ripened and a sovereign command of all the elements wliich Bonn 
was able to teach him from a technical point of view. 

Two airs for bass voice with orchestral accompaniment are, 
to judge by tlie handwriting, also to be ascribed to al)ont 1790. 
The first is entitled '"Priifiing des Kiissens' ('The Test of Kissing'), 
V. L. v. Beethowen." The use of the "w" instead of the "v" in the 
spelling of the name points to an early period for the composition. 



132 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The text of the second bears the title, "Mit Madeln sich vertragen," 
and was taken by Beethoven from the original version of Goethe's 
"Claudine von Villa Bella." Paper, handwriting and the spelling 
of the name of the composer indicate the same period as the first 
air. The two compositions remained unknown a long time, but 
are now to be had in the Supplement to the Complete Works pub- 
lished by Breitkopf and Hartel. 

To these airs must be added a considerable number of songs 
as fruits of Beethoven's creative labors in Bonn. The first of 
these, *Tch, der mit flatterndem Sinn," was made known by pub- 
lication in the Complete Works. A sketch found among sketches 
for the variations on "Se vuol ballare," led Nottebohm to set down 
1792 as the year of its origin. Of the songs grouped and published 
as Op. 52 the second, "Feuerfarbe," belongs to the period of tran- 
sition from Bonn to Vienna. On January 26, 1793, Fischenich 
WTote to Charlotte von Schiller: "I am enclosing with this a set- 
ting of the 'Feuerfarbe' on which I should like to have your opinion. 
It is by a young man of this place whose musical talents are univer- 
sally praised and whom the Elector has sent to Haydn in Vienna. 
He proposes also to compose Schiller's 'Freude,' and indeed strophe 
by strophe. Ordinarily he does not trouble himself with such trifles 
as the enclosed, which he wrote at the request of a lady." From 
this it is fair to conclude that the song was finished before Beet- 
hoven's departure from Bonn. Later he wrote a new postlude, 
which is found among motivi for the Octet and the Trio in C minor. 
Of the other songs in Op. 52 the origin of several may be set down 
as falling in the Bonn period. That of the first, "Urian's Reise 
um die Welt," we have already seen. Whether or not these songs, 
which met with severe criticism in comparison with other greater 
works of Beethoven, were published without Beethoven's knowl- 
edge, is doubtful. 1 Probability places the following songs in the 
period of transition, or just before it: "An Minna," sketched 
on a page with "Feuerfarbe," and other works written out in the 
early days of the Vienna period; a drinking-song, "to be sung at 
parting," "Erhebt das Glas mit froher Hand," to judge by the 
handwriting, an early work, presumably circa 1787; "Elegie auf 
den Tod eines Pudels"; "Die Klage," to be placed in 1790, inas- 
much as the original manuscript form appears simultaneously 

^See Vol. II, p. 210, of the first German edition of this work. Ries says, on page 
124 of the "Notizen," apropos of the posthumous manuscripts: "All such trifles and 
things which he never meant to publish, as not considering them worthy of his name, 
were secretly brought into the world by his brothers. Such were the songs published 
when he had attained the highest degree of fame, composed years before at Bonn, 
previous to his departure for Vienna; and in like manner other trifles, written for 
albums, etc., were secretly taken from him and published." 



Other Works of the Bonn Period 133 

with sketches of the funeral cantata; "Wer ist ein freier Mann?", 
whose original autograph in the British Museum bears the inscrip- 
tion "ipse fecit L. v. Beethoven," and must be placed not later 
than 1790, while a revised form is probably a product of 1795, and 
to a third Wegeler appended a different text, "Was ist des Maurer's 
Ziel?" published in 1806; the "Punschlied" may be a trifle older; 
the autograph of "Man strebt die Flamme zu verhehlen," in the 
possession of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, which has been 
placed in the year 1792, bears in Beethoven's handwriting the 
words "pour Madame Weissenthurn par Louis van Beethoven." 
Madame Weissenthurn was a writer and actress, and from 1789 
a member of the company of the Burgtheater in Vienna, and it is 
more than likely that Beethoven did not get acquainted with her 
till he went to Vienna, although she was born on the Rhine. 

Turn we now to the instrumental works which date back to 
the Bonn period. The beginning is made with the work which, 
in a manner, first brought Beethoven into close relationship with 
the stage — the "Ritterballet," produced by the nobility on Carni- 
val Sunday, March 6, 1791, and which, consequently, cannot have 
been composed long before, say in 1790 or 1791. The ballet was 
designed by Count Waldstein in connection with Habich, a 
dancing-master from Aix-la-Chapelle. Of the contents of the piece 
we know nothing more than is contained in the report from Bonn 
printed three chapters back, namely, that it illustrated the pre- 
dilection of the ancient Germans for war, the chase, love and 
drinking; the music, being without words, can give us no further 
help. It consists of eight short numbers, designed to accompany 
the pantomime: 1, March; 2, German Song;^ 3, Hunting Song; 
4, Romance; 5, War Song; 6, Drinking Song; 7, German Dance; 
8, Coda. It was intended that the music should be accepted as 
Waldstein's and, tlierefore, Beethoven never published it. 

It seems as if the last year of Beethoven's sojourn in Bonn 
was especially influential in the development of his artistic char- 
acter and ability. Of the works of 1792, besides trifles, there 
were two of larger dimensions which, if we were not better advised, 
would unhesitatingly be placed in the riper Vienna period. The 
autograph of the Octet for wind-instruments, pul)lished after tlie 
comjKjser's death and designated at a lat(;r dale as Op. 103, bears 
the iiisfTij)tion "Parthia in Es" (above this, "dans nn Concert"), 
"Due Ol>oe, Due Clarinelti, Due Corni, Due Fagotti di L. v. 
Beethoven." From a sketch which precedes suggestions for the 

'The subject of the German Song was used by Beethoven later in a sonata. 



134 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

song "Feuerfarbe," Nottebohm concludes that the Octet was 
composed in 1792, or, at the latest in 1793. In the latter case it 
would be a Viennese product. It is improbable, however, that 
Beethoven found either incentive or occasion soon after reaching 
Vienna to write a piece of this character, and it is significant that 
in his later years he never returned to a combination of eight in- 
struments. But there was an incentive in Bonn in the form of 
the excellent dinner-music of the Elector described by Chaplain 
Junker, which was performed by two oboes, two clarinets, two 
horns and two bassoons. It may be set down as a fruit of 1792, 
his last year in Bonn. For the same combination of instruments, 
Beethoven also composed a Rondino in E-flat, published in 1829 
by Diabelli, probably from the posthumous manuscript. From 
the autograph Nottebohm argued that it was written in Bonn, 
and what has been said of the origin of the Octet applies also to 
the Rondino. The autograph of a little duet in G for two flutes 
bears the inscription: "For Friend Degenharth by L. v. Beethoven. 
August 23rd, 1792, midnight." 

We are lifted to a higher plane again by a work which in 
invention and construction surpasses the compositions already 
mentioned and still to be mentioned in the present category, and 
discloses the fully developed Beethoven as we know him — the 
Trio in E-flat, for violin, viola and violoncello. Op. 3. Its publi- 
cation was announced by Artaria in February, 1797. According 
to Wegeler, Beethoven was commissioned by Count Appony in 
1795 to write a quartet. He made two efforts, but produced first 
a Trio (Op. 3), and then a Quintet (Op. 4). We know better the 
origin of the latter work now; but Wegeler is also mistaken about 
the origin of the Trio; it was a Bonn product. Here the proof: 
At the general flight from Bonn, whether the one at the end 
of October or that of December 15, 1793, the Elector ordered his 
chaplain, Abbe Clemens Dobbeler, to accompany an English lady, 
the Honourable Mrs. Bowater, to Hamburg. "While there," says 
William Gardiner in his "Music and Friends," III, 142, "he was 
declared an emigrant and his property was seized. Luckily he 
placed some money in our (English) government funds, and his 
only alternative was to proceed to England." Dobbeler accom- 
panied Mrs. Bowater to Leicester. She, 

having lived much in Germany, had acquired a fine taste in music; and 
as the Abbe was a very fine performer on the violin, music was essential 
to fill up this irksome period (while Mrs. Bowater lived in lodgings 
before moving into old Dolby Hall). My company was sought with that 
of two of my friends to make up occasionally an instrumental quartett. 



The Trio for Strings, Op. 3 135 

. . . Our music consisted of the Quartetts of Haydn, Boccherini, 
and Wranizky. The Abbe, who never travelled without his violin, 
had luckily put into his fiddle-case a Trio composed by Beethoven, just 
before he set off, which thus, in the year 1793, found its way to Leicester. 
This composition, so different from anything I had ever heard, awakened 

in me a new sense, a new delight in the science of sounds When 

I went to town (London) I enquired for the works of this author, but 
could learn nothing more than that he was considered a madman and 
that his music was like himself. However, I had a friend in Hamburg 
through whom, although the war was raging at the time, I occasionally 
obtained some of these inestimable treasures. 

WTiat trio was this so praised by the enthusiastic Englishman? 
On the last page but one of Gardiner's "Italy, her Music, Arts 
and People" he writes, speaking of his return down the Rhine: 

Recently we arrived at Bonn, the birthplace of Beethoven. About 
the year 1786, my friend the Abbe Dobler, chaplain to the Elector of 
Cologne, first noticed this curly, blackheaded boy, the son of a tenor 
singer in the cathedral. Through the Abbe I became acquainted with 
the first production of this wonderful composer. How great was my 
surprise in playing the viola part to his Trio in E-flat, so unlike anything 
I had ever heard. It was a new sense to me, an intellectual pleasure 
which I had never received from sounds. 

Again, in a letter to Beethoven, Gardiner says, "Your Trio 
in E-flat (for violin, viola and bass"). To all but the blind this 
narrative pours a flood of light upon the whole question.^ 

There come up now for consideration the compositions in 
which Beethoven's principal instrument, the pianoforte, is era- 
ployed. They carry us back a space, and to the earliest examples 
we add a related composition for violin. 

It was a part of Beethoven's official duty to play pianoforte 
before tlie Elector, and it may therefore easily be imagined that 
after his first boyish attempt in 1784, he would conliiuie to com- 
pose concertos and parts of concertos for the pianoforte and 

'The Trio in E-flat was not published until 1797. It is therefore obvious that the 
music whi'h Al)be Dobbf.'i(;r carried with liira to Enghind must Iiave been a iiiaiiuscript 
copy. Dr. Dciters, accei)tinf; without attempt at coiilra<ii(tion Tliaycr's |)roof of its 
origin at a period not later than 17!)^, neverllieiess puts forth the conjecture tiiat tiie 
work may have been revised and reconstructed at a later date in Vienna, as was the case 
with other compositions. It is not to be supposed, he urges, that Beethoven, enjoying 
the celebrity that he did in 1707, would have [)ublished then with an op-;s number a 
production of his youth without first subjecting it to a thorough revision. Moreover, 
his earlier chamber compositions were in three movements, tiie minuet having been 
added for the first time in the C)ctet. It was scarcely conceivable that he should have 
simultaneously conceived a work in six movements unless he ha<l had a Mo7,art modil in 
his mind. Hut wliy not."" We have seen from the story of the music admired at the 
court of V'iennafrom which the Elector came that the serenade form was in favor th<;re. 
The Sonata for Pianoforte and Violoncello which Artaria announced in May, 18U7, is an 
arrangement of this Trio, but it was not made by Beethoven. 



136 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

orchestra, and not wait until 1795, when he publicly performed 
the "entirely new" concerto in B-flat. Quite recently the world 
has learned of a first movement for a pianoforte concerto in D, con- 
cerning which the first report was made by Guido Adler in 1888, 
and which was performed in Vienna on April 7, 1889, and then 
incorporated, as edited by Adler, in the supplement to the Com- 
plete Works. It was discovered in copy, solo and orchestra parts, 
in the possession of Joseph Bezeczny, the head of an educational 
institution for the blind in Prague, and the handwriting is his. 
Immediately after its first performance its authenticity was ques- 
tioned by Dr. Paumgartner, who called attention to its Mozartian 
cliaracteristics, but failed to advance any reason for doubting the 
testimony of so thorough a musical scholar as Adler. The latter 
had emphasized the resemblances to Mozart's works, which, indeed, 
are too obvious to escape attention; but for a long time after 1785, 
especially after Beethoven met Mozart personally in Vienna, the 
former was completely in the latter 's thrall, and that his music 
should occasionally be reminiscent of his model is not at all 
singular. Such reminiscences are to be found in the quartets of 
1785 and the trio for pianoforte and wind-instruments. It is 
safe to assume that the movement was written, as Adler sug- 
gests, in the period 1788-1793, perhaps before rather than after 
1790, and that Beethoven attached little value to it and laid it 
permanently aside. 

A companion-piece to this movement is the fragment of a 
Concerto for Violin in C major, of which the autograph is in the 
archives of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, the hand- 
writing of which indicates that it belongs to the early Vienna if 
not the Bonn period. That it is a first transcription is indicated 
by the fact that there are many erasures and corrections. The 
fragment contains 259 measures, embracing the orchestral intro- 
duction, the first solo passage, the second tutti and the beginning 
of the free fantasia for the solo instrument; it ends with the intro- 
duction of a new transition motif which leads to the conjecture 
that the movement was finished and that the missing portion has 
been lost.^ 

A Trio in E-flat for Pianoforte, Violin and Violoncello, found 
among Beethoven's posthumous papers, was published in 1836 
by Dunst in Frankfort-on-the-Main. On the original publica- 
tion its authenticity was certified to by Diabelli, Czerny and 
Ferdinand Ries, and it was stated that the original manuscript 

^Josef Hellmesberger, of Vienna, completed the movement, utilizing the existing 
motivi, and the piece was published by Friedrich Schreiber. 



Other Works Composed in Bonn 137 

was in the possession of Schindler; Wegeler verified the hand- 
writing as that of Beethoven. Schindler cites Beethoven's utter- 
ance that he had written the work at the age of 15 years and de- 
scribed it as one of his "highest strivings in the free style of compo- 
sition," which was either a misunderstanding of Schindler's or a 
bit of irony on the part of Beethoven. Nearer the truth, at any 
rate, is a remark in Graffer's written catalogue of Beethoven's 
works: "Composed anno 1791, and originally intended for the 
three trios, Op. 1, but omitted as too weak by Beethoven." 
Whether or not this observation rests on an authentic source is 
not stated. 1 

Whether or not the Pianoforte Trios, Op. 1, were composed 
in Bonn may be left without discussion here, since we shall be 
obliged to recur to the subject later. The facts about them that 
have been determined beyond controversy are, that they were 
published in 1795; were not ready in their final shape in 1794; 
and were already played in the presence of Haydn in 1793. 

The Variations in E-flat for Pianoforte, Violin and Violoncello, 
which were published in 1804 by Hofmeister in Leipsic as Op. 44, 
apparently belong to the last year of Beethoven's life in Bonn. 
Nottebohm found a sketch of the work alongside one of the song 
"Feuerfarbe," which fact points to the year 1792; Beethoven in 
a letter to the publisher appears not to have laid particular store 
by it, a circumstance easily understood in view of the great works 
which had followed the youthful effort. 

Besides these compositions, a Trio for Pianoforte, Flute and 
Bassoon,- concerning which all the information which we have 
came from the catalogue of Beethoven's effects sold at auction, 
has recently been published. It is No. 179 in the catalogue, where 
it is described as a composition of the Bonn period. On the auto- 
graph, preserved in Berlin, the title, placed at the end, is "Trio 
concertante a clavicembalo, flauto, fagotto, composto da Ludovico 
van Beethoven organista di S. S. (illegil)le word), cologne." The 
designation of the composer as organist, etc., fixes the place of 
its origin, and the handwriting indicates an early date. 

'Dr. Dfiters points out as charactorislios of this Trio which indicate that it was 
not writtf-n hy Iloftliovon at the age of 15. hut lon(? aft<T the- [)iiinoforle quartets, the 
froeriom in invention >\n<\ (ifvclopmenl. tin- lar(,'e dirnonsions of tlic; free fantasia portion, 
its almost itiiju-reeptihic return to the [)rin(i|)al tlieine, anil tlw introduction of a coda in 
the first movement. Mntiri from this movement recur in later works, for instance, the 
Sonata in ¥ minor. Op. 2, and the I'ianofrjrle Concerto in C major. Beethoven seems 
to have used the designation "Scherzo" in it for the first time. 

*The combination of instruments in this piece Icfl Dr. Deiters to ronjectuie that 
it may have been composed for the family Vf)n Westerhold. Count vou Westerhold 
I)layed the bassoon, his son the flute, and his daughter the pianoforte. 



138 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Among the papers found in Beethoven's apartments after 
his death, was the manuscript of a Sonata in B-flat for Pianoforte 
and Fhite, which passed into the hands of Artaria. It is not in 
Beethoven's handwriting, and the little evidence of its authenticity 
is not convincing.^ 

It is more than likely that the Variations for Pianoforte and 
Violin on Mozart's "Se vuol ballare" ought to be assigned to the 
latter part of the Bonn period. They were published in July, 1793, 
with a dedication to Eleonore von Breuning, to whom Beethoven 
sent the composition with a letter dated November 2, 1793. ^ The 
dedication leads to the presumption that the work was carried 
to Vienna in a finished state and there subjected to only the final 
polish. The postscript to the letter to Fraulein von Breuning 
betrays the reason for the hurried publication: Beethoven wanted 
to checkmate certain Viennese pianists whom he had detected 
copying peculiarities of his playing in improvisation which he 
suspected they would publish as their own devices. 

Besides the pieces already mentioned, Beethoven wrote the 
following works for pianofore in Bonn: 

1. A Prelude in F minor.^ According to a remark on a printed 
copy shown to be authentic, Beethoven wrote it when he was 15 
year old, that is, in 1786 or, the question of his age not being 
determined at the time, 1787. The prelude is, as a matter of 
fact, a fruit of his studies in the art of imitation; and the initiative, 
probably, came from Bach's Preludes. 

2. Two Preludes through the Twelve Major Keys for Piano- 
forte or Organ; published by Hoffmeister in 1803 as Op. 39. 
Obviously exercises written for Neefe while he was Beethoven's 
teacher in composition. 

3. Variations on the arietta "Venni Amore," by Righini, 
in D major — "Venni Amore," not "Vieni"; the arietta begins: 
"Venni Amore nel tuo regno, ma compagno del Timor." Righini 
gave his melody a number of vocal variations. Beethoven 

'Dr. Deiters points out that Thayer, in transcribing the themes of this Trio, over- 
looked a Largo, which made the movements number four instead of three as given in the 
Chronological Catalogue. The existence of four movements added to the doubtful 
authenticity in the eyes of the German editor. 

^This letter will appear later. The Variations are published in Series 12, No. 103, 
of the Complete Edition. In a catalogue of Breitkopf and Hartel of 179.3, they are desig- 
nated Op. 1 ; also in a catalogue in 1794 of Geyl and Hedler's. It is plain from a passage 
in the letter to Eleonore von Breuning ("I never would have written it in this way," etc.) 
that the Coda did not receive its definitive form until just before publication. Thayer 
was of the opinion when he wrote Vol. I of this work, that it had been appended in 
Vienna. 

^It was published in 1805 by the Kunst- und Industriecomptoir of Vienna. Com- 
plete Works, Series 18, No. 195; cf. Nottebohm's "Beethoven's Studien," p. 6. 



Pianoforte Variations and a Sonata 139 

republished his in Vienna in 1801 through Traeg (Complete Works, 
Series 17, No. 178); composed about 1790 and published in 
Mannheim in 1791. They were inscribed to Countess Hatzfeld 
{nee Countess de Girodin), who has been praised in this book as 
an eminent pianist. The story of the encounter between Beetho- 
ven and Sterkel in which these variations figure has also been 
told. Beethoven had a good opinion of them; Czerny told Otto 
Jahn that he had brought them with him to Vienna and used them 
to "introduce" himself. 

Two books of variations are to be adjudged to the Bonn 
period because of their place of publication and other biographical 
considerations. They are the Variations in A major on a theme 
from Dittersdorf's opera "Das rothe Kappchen" ("Es war einmal 
ein alter Mann") and the Variations for four hands on a theme by 
Count Waldstein. Both sets were published by Simrock in Bonn, 
the first of Beethoven's compositions published in his native town. 
They were not published until 1794, but according to a letter to 
Simrock, dated August 2, 1794, the latter had received the first set 
a considerable time before, and Beethoven had held back the 
corrections while the other was already printed. Beethoven's 
intimate association with Waldstein in Bonn is a familiar story, 
but we hear nothing of it in the early Viennese days. The varia- 
tions on a theme of his own seem likely to have been the product 
of a wish expressed by the Count. That Beethoven seldom wrote 
for four hands, and certainly not without a special reason, is an 
accepted fact.^ 

Another presumably Bonnian product which has come down 
to us only as a fragment is the Sonata in C major for Pianoforte, 

'In the Fall of 1919, announcement was made by tlie newspapers that Freneh 
invcstif^ators had discovered in llic Hrilish Mnseiiin fowr thitherto unknown iJi'clliovcn 
autof^raplis ariKjngst inanuscri[)ts fnirchascd {nun Julian Marshall. 'J'iie c<lilor of the 
second edition of Kochel's "Thematic (Jatalo;;ii(! of Mozart's Works" had seen the 
manuscripts and included two of thi-m as authentic Mozart compositions and two as 
probably such in the sui)f)lenu'nt to that work. They were a Trio in I), for pianoforte, 
violin and violoncello (two pa/^cs of the first Allegro missiuf^, listed as K, No. fyin); 
three pieces for pianoforte, four hands, a (Idroltc in V, an Allnjro in 15-flat, aiicl a Murna 
lugubre in (J minor (six measures^. No. 71a; a Hondo in H-flat, to wiiich the ediloras.si^nc<| 
the year 1786, No. 511a; and a Minuet in C, for orchestra, the first of a set composed by 
Beethoven in 179.5, which M. Chantavoinc published in 1903 under the title "I )ouzc 
Menucts inedits i)our Orchestre. L. van Heethoven. (Euvnrs i)oslhumc.s. Au Mene- 
strel." Tln-odore Wyzcwa and Georges de St. Foix made a si udy of the m.inuscri[)ts and 
discussed them in "L<; (Juide Musical" of December, 1919, .January and I'rbruar.N, I'JH). 
They were then set down as "pseudo-Mozarts." .M. (Charles Mailirrbe <lc(lared that 
none of the com i)osit ions was in \lozart's hand, and M. de St. I''oix. after further consider- 
ation of the internal evidence, declared them all to be indubitably by Heethoven and gave 
his reasons in an essay published in "The Musical Quarterly" (New York and Moslon, 
G. Schirmerj of .April, l'.)H). He told the history of the manuseri|)ls as follows: "They 
had been presented by the P>mp<T<)r of .\uslria to the Sultan Alulul Aziz. The latter, 
who probably cared very little for these relies of the ISlh century, presented lliem in 



140 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

published in 1830 by Dunst in Frankfort, with a dedication to 
Eleonore von Breuning. It is probably the sonata which Beet- 
hoven, according to the letter to be given presently, had promised 
to his friend and which was fully sketched at the time. There 
would be no doubt of the fact that the sonata was written in 
Bonn if the presumption that the letter was written in Bonn 
were true; but even as it is, the fact that the letter says that it 
had been promised "long ago" indicates a pre-Viennese origin. 
All that is certain is that Eleonore von Breuning received it from 
Beethoven in 1796. In the copy sent to the publisher eleven 
measures at the end of the Adagio were lacking. These were sup- 
plied by Ferdinand Ries in the manner of Beethoven. There can 
scarcely be a doubt that Beethoven finished the Adagio, and it 
can be assumed that he also composed a last movement, which 
has been lost. 

Concerning the Rondo in C major published in Bossier's 
"Blumenlese" of 1783, we have already spoken.^ 

It is a striking fact to any one who has had occasion to exam- 
ine carefully the chronology of publication of Beethoven's works, 
that up to nearly the close of 1802 whatever appeared under his 
name was worthy of that name; but that then, in the period of 
the second, third and fourth symphonies, of the sonatas. Op. 47, 
53, 57 and of "Leonore," to the wonder of the critics of that time 
serial advertisements of the "Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir" in 
Vienna announce the Trios, Op. 30 and the seven Bagatelles, 
Op. 33; in another the "Grand Sinfonie," Op. 36, and the Variations 
on "God save the King"; on May 15, 1805, the Waldstein Sonata 
and the Romance, Op. 50; and on June 16 the songs. Op. 52, which 
the "Allgemeine Mus. Zeitung" describes as "commonplace, poor, 
weak, in part ridiculous stuff." Ries solves the enigma when he 
writes ("Notizen," 124) that all trifles, many things which he 

turn to his musical director, Guatelli Pasha. An English collector, Julian Marshall, 
purchased them from the Pasha's son, W. Guatelli Bey, and when, later on, the British 
Museum acquired the Marshall Collection these manuscripts went over into its 
possession." 

The Gavotte was played at a concert of the Beethoven Association in New York 
in January, 19£0, by Madame Samaroff and Harold Bauer, being inserted as a movement 
in the Sonata in A major for four hands. Op. 6. Mr. Bauer also made an arrangement 
for two hands which has been published by G. Schirmer. 

'The discoveries which have been made since Thayer wrote his first volume have 
very eflFectually disproved the old belief touching the sterility of the Bonn period. The 
inquiry which might still be pursued now is whether or not other compositions which 
have been attributed to a later period may not also have been composed, or at least 
projected and sketched, in Bonn. The point of view has changed, but what Thayer 
wrote over half a century ago is still so largely pertinent that it is here given in the body 
of the text with only such modifications as were necessary to bring it into harmony v.ith 
the rest of the chapter. 



Works Taken to Vienna From Bonn 141 

never intended to publish because he deemed them unworthy of 
his name, were given to the world through the agency of his brother. 
In this manner the world was made acquainted with songs which 
he had written long before he went to Vienna from Bonn. Even 
little compositions which he had written in albums were filched 
and published. 

But even if the widest latitude be given to the judgment in 
selecting from the publications of these years works belonging to 
the Bonn period, still what an exceedingly meagre list is the aggre- 
gate of Beethoven's compositions from his twelfth to the end of 
his twenty-second year! Mozart's, according to Kochel, reach at 
that age 293; Handel completed his twentieth year, February 
23, 1705; on the twenty-fifth his second opera "Nero" was per- 
formed. And what had he not previously written! 

This apparent lack of productiveness on the part of Beetho- 
ven has been noticed by other writers. One has disputed the 
fact and is of opinion that the composer in later years destroyed 
the manuscripts of his youth to prevent the possibility of injury 
to his fame by their posthumous publication. But this explana- 
tion is nonsense, as every one knows who has had an opportunity 
to examine the autograph collections in Vienna and there to re- 
mark with what scrupulous care even his most valueless produc- 
tions were preserved by their author in all his migrations from 
house to house and from city to country throughout his Vienna 
life. 

Beethoven attached absolutely no value to his autographs; after 
they had once been engraved they generally were piled on the floor in 
his hving room or an anteroom among other pieces of music. I often 
brought order into his music, but when Beethoven hunted for anytliing, 
everything was sent flying in disorder. At that time I might have carried 
away the autograi^h manuscripts of all the pieces which had been printed, 
or had I asked him for them he would unquestionably have given them 
to me without a thought. 

These words of Ries are confirmed by the small number of 
autographs of printed works in the auction catalogue of Beet- 
hoven's posthumous papers — most of them having remained in 
the hands of the publishers or having been lost, destroyed or 
stolen. 

Anot})er author has endeavored to supply tJie vacuum by 
deducing the chronology of Beethoven's works from their form, 
matter or general character as viewed by his eyes, referring all 
which seem to him below the standard of the composer at any 
particular period to an earlier one; and a very comical chronology 



14^J The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

he makes of it. His success certainly has not been such as to 
induce any attempt of the kind here; and yet that he is right in 
the general fact is the hypothesis which the following remarks 
are conceived to establish as truth. Schindler — who is often very 
positive on the ground that what he does not know cannot be 
true — in introducing his chronological table of Beethoven's works, 
published from 1796 to 1800, remarks: "It may be asserted with 
positiveness that none of the works catalogued below were com- 
posed before 1794"; upon which point the assertion is ventured 
that Schindler is thoroughly mistaken and that many of the works 
published by Beethoven during the first dozen years of his Vienna 
life were taken thither from Bonn. They doubtless were more 
or less altered, amended, improved, corrected, but nevertheless 
belong as compositions to those years when "Beethoven played 
pianoforte concertos, and Herr Neefe accompanied at Court in 
the theatre and in concerts." While the other young men were 
trying their strength upon works for the orchestra and stage, the 
performance of which would necessarily give them notoriety, the 
Court Pianist would naturally confine himself mostly to his own 
instrument and to chamber music — to works whose production 
before a small circle in the salons of the Elector, Countess Hatzfeld 
and others would excite little if any public notice. But here he 
struck out so new, and at that time so strange a path that no 
small degree of praise is due to the sagacity of Count Wald- 
stein, who comprehended his aims, felt his greatness and en- 
couraged him to trust to and be guided by his own instincts and 
genius. 

That Beethoven also tried his powers in a wider field we know 
from the two cantatas, the airs in "Die schone Schusterin" and 
the "Ritterballet," Carl Haslinger in Vienna also possessed an 
orchestral introduction to the second act of an unnamed opera 
which may as well be referred to the Bonn period as to any other; 
and it is not by any means a wild suggestion that he had tried his 
strength in other concertos for pianoforte and full orchestra than 
that of 1784. As to the compositions for two, six or eight wind- 
instruments there was little if any danger of mistake in supposing 
them to have been written for the Elector's "Harmonie-Musik." 
But this is wandering from the point; to establish which the 
following remarks are in all humility submitted: 

I. If a list be drawn up of Beethoven's compositions pub- 
lished between 1795 and December, 1802, with the addition of 
other works known to have been composed in those years, the 
result will be nearly as follows (omitting single songs and other 



Creative Industry in Bonn 143 

minor pieces): symphonies, 2; ballet ("Prometheus"), 1; sonatas 
(solo and duo), 32; romances (violin and orchestra), 2; serenade, 
1; duos (clarinet and bassoon), 3; sets of variations, 15; sets 
of dances, 5; "Ah! perfido" and "Adelaide," 2; pianoforte con- 
certos, 3; trios (pianoforte and other instruments), 9; quartets, 
6; quintets, 3; septet, 1; pianoforte rondos, 3; marches (for 
four hands), 3; oratorio ("Christus"), 1; an aggregate of 92 com- 
positions in eight years or ninety-six months. And most of them 
such compositions! That Beethoven was a remarkable man all 
the world knows; but that he could produce at this rate, study 
operatic composition with Salieri, sustain, nay, increase his repu- 
tation as a pianoforte virtuoso, journey to Prague, Berlin and 
other places, correct proof-sheets for his publishers, give lessons 
and yet find time to write long letters to friends, to sleep, to eat, 
drink and be merry with companions of his own age — this is, to 
say the least, "a morsel difficult of digestion." The more so from 
the fact that at the very time when he began to devote himself 
more exclusively to composition such marvellous fertility suddenly 
ceased. The inference is obvious. 

II. When Neefe, in 1798, calls Beethoven "beyond contro- 
versy one of the foremost pianoforte players," it excites no surprise. 
Ten years before he had played the most of Bach's "Well-Tempered 
Clavichord" and had now long held the offices of Second Court 
Organist and Concerto Plaj^er; but what sufficient reason could 
Waldstein have had for his faith that this pianist, by study and 
perseverance, would yet be able to seize and hold the sceptre of 
Mozart.^ And upon what grounds, too, could Fischenich, on 
January 2G, 1793, write as he did to Charlotte von Schiller 
from Bonn (see ante) and add, "I expect something perfect 
from liini, for so far as I know him he is wholly devoted 
to the great and sul)lime. , . . Haydn has written here that 
he would soon put him at grand operas and soon be obliged to 
quit composing." 

Note the date of this — January 26, 1793. Haydn must have 
written some time before this, when Beethoven could not liave 
been with liim more than six or eight weeks. Did tlie master 
found his remark upon wiiat he had seen in his pui)il or upon the 
compositions which his pui)il had placed l)efore him? Wegeler 
has printed an undated and incomplete letter of Beethoven to 
Eleonore von Breuning, certainly, however, not later than the 
spring of 1794, which was accompanied by a set of variations and 
a rondo for f)ianoforte and violin. Do the following passages 
in this letter indicate anything.^ 



144 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

I have a great deal to do or I would before this have transcribed 
the sonata whwh I promised you long ago. It is a mere sketch in my 
manuscript and it would be a difficult task even for the clever and prac- 
tised Paraquin to copy it. You can have the rondo copied and return 
the score to me. It is the only one of my things which is, in a manner, 
suitable to you. 

May these words not be paraphrased thus: "As to the sonata 
wliich I played at your house and of which I promised you a copy 
— it is in my manuscript hardly more than a sketch, so that I 
could not trust it to a copyist, not even to Paraquin, and I have 
not had leisure to transcribe it myself." And, finally, the closing 
lines of a short article in the "Jahrbuch der Tonkunst fiir Wien 
und Prag," 1776 — -which notice was not written later than the 
spring of 1795, nine or ten months before the publication of the 
Sonatas Op. 2 — are pregnantly suggestive: "We have a number 
of beautiful sonatas by him, amongst which the last ones particu- 
larly distinguish themselves." These works were, therefore, 
well-known in manuscript even at the time when he was busy 
with his studies under Haydn and Albrechtsberger. 

III. If in spite of the above it still be objected that the opera 
1 to 15, or 20, as you please, are of a character beyond the powers 
of Beethoven during his Bonn life, who knows this to be a fact.'* 
Has such an objection any other basis than a mere prejudice? 

A fanciful theory has exhibited Beethoven to us as a rude, un- 
developed genius, who, being transferred to Vienna and schooled 
two years by Haydn and Albrechtsberger, then began with the 
Trios Op. 1, wrought his way upward in eight years through the 
twenty-three compositions of opera 2 to 14 in a geometrical pro- 
gression to the first pianoforte concertos, the ballet "Prometheus" 
and the Symphony in C! It is, however, known that in March, 
1795, Beethoven played his Pianoforte Concerto in B-flat in Vienna, 
shortly afterward published the Trios, Op. 1, and in 1796 composed 
the two sonatas for pianoforte and violoncello in Berlin. A young 
man who at the age of 24 or 25 could give the public two such 
concertos could hardly have been such a rough diamond only 
three or four years before. 

IV. However convincing the preceding propositions may 
seem to the ordinary reader, the critical student of musical history 
justly demands something more. It is not enough for him to 
know that Op. 19 was composed before the publication of Op. 1 ; 
that Op. 2 is in part made up from the Pianoforte Quartets of 1785; 
that the Quintet Op. 4 is an arrangement of the "Parthia" in E-flat 
for wind-instruments afterwards published as Op. 103, and is now 



Evidences of Early Activity 145 

proved to belong to the Bonn period, and that a whole movement 
of the funeral cantata found its way into "Fidelio" — the argument 
is to him like an arch without its keystone until one or more of 
the important works be named specifically as Bonn compositions 
and proved to be such.^ 

'Thayer proceeds from this point to give the reasons for his belief that the Trios 
Op. 1 and 3 were written in Bonn. The origin of Op. 1 will be discussed hereafter; 
that of the latter has just been made clear by the story of Mrs. Bowater and Abb 6 
Dobbeler. 



Chapter XI 



Beethoven in Vienna — Personal Details — Death of His 
Father — Minor Expenditures and Receipts — Studies 
with Albrechtsberger and Salieri. 

IT would be pleasant to announce the arrival of Ludwig van 
Beethoven in Vienna with, so to speak, a grand flourish of 
trumpets, and to indulge the fancy in a highly-colored and 
poetic account of his advent there; but, unluckily, there is none 
of that lack of data which is favorable to that kind of composi- 
tion; none of that obscurity which exalts one to write history as he 
would have it and not as it really was. The facts are too patent. 
Like the multitude of studious youths and young men who came 
thither annually to find schools and teachers, this small, thin, 
dark-complexioned, pockmarked, dark-eyed, bewigged young 
musician of 22 years had quietly journeyed to the capital to 
pursue the study of his art with a small, thin, dark-complexioned, 
pockmarked, black-eyed and bewigged veteran composer. In 
the well-known anecdote related by Carpani of Haydn's intro- 
duction to him, Anton Esterhazy, the prince, is made to call the 
composer "a Moor." Beethoven had even more of the Moor in 
his looks than his master. His front teeth, owing to the singular 
flatness of the roof of his mouth, protruded, and, of course, 
thrust out his lips; the nose, too, was rather broad and decidedly 
flattened, while the forehead was remarkably full and round — 
in the words of the late Court Secretary, Mahler, who twice 
painted his portrait, a "bullet." 

"Beethoven," wrote Junker, "confessed that in his journeys 
he had seldom found in the playing of the most distinguished 
virtuosos that excellence which he supposed he had a right to 
expect." He now had an opportunity to make his observations 
upon the pianists and composers at the very headquarters, then, of 
German music, to improve himself by study under the best of them 
and, by and by, to measure his strength with theirs. He found 
very soon that the words of the poet were here also applicable: 

[ 146 ] 



Beethoven Settles Down in Vienna 147 

"'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view," and did not 
find — now Mozart was gone — "what he supposed he had a right 
to expect." For the present, however, we have to do but with 
the young stranger in a large city, seeking lodgings, and making 
such arrangements for the future as shall not be out of due pro- 
portion to the limited pecuniary means at his command. If the 
minute details which here follow should seem to be too insignifi- 
cant in themselves, the bearing they have upon some other future 
questions must justify their introduction. 

Turning again to the memorandum book, the first entries 
which follow the notes of the journey from Bonn to Wiirges are 
merely of necessities to be supplied — "wood, wig-maker, coffee, 
overcoat, boots, shoes, pianoforte-desk, seal, writing-desk, piano- 
forte-money" and something illegible followed by the remark: "All 
beginning with next month." The next page gives a hint as to 
the day of his arrival. It contains the substance of two adver- 
tisements in the "Wiener Zeitung" of pianofortes for sale, one 
near the Hohen Markt and two "im Kramerschen Breihaus No. 
257 im Schlossergassel, am Graben." The latter appears for the 
last time on the 10th of November; Beethoven was, therefore, 
then in Vienna. 

But he intends to cultivate the Graces as well as the Muses. 
The next page begins with this: "Andreas Lindner, dancing-master, 
lives in the Stoss am Himmel, No. 415," to which succeeds a note, 
evidently of money received from the Elector, possibly in Bonn 
but more likely in Vienna: "25 ducats received of which, expended 
on November (.'') half a sovereign for the pianoforte, or 6 florins, 
40 kreutzer — 2 florins were of my own money." The same page 
also shows him in the matter of his toilet preparing even then for 
entrance into society: "Black silk stockings, 1 ducat; 1 pair of 
winter silk stockings, 1 florin, 40 kreutzers; boots, 6 florins; shoes, 
1 florin, 30 kreutzers." But these expenses in addition to his daily 
necessities are making a large inroad upon his "25 ducats received"; 
and on page 7 we read: "On Wednesday the 12th of December, 
I had 15 ducats." (The 12th of December fell upon Wednesday 
in the year 1792.) Omitting for the present what else stands upon 
page 7, here are the interesting contents of page 8 —and how sug- 
gestive and pregnant they are: "In Bonn I counted on receiving 
100 ducats here; but in vain. I have got to equip myself com- 
pletely anew." 

Several pages whicli follow contain what, upon inspection, 
proves evidently to be his monthly i)ayraents from the time wlien 
"all was to begin next month," of which the first may be given as 



148 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

a specimen: "House-rent, 14 florins; pianoforte, 6 florins, 49 
kreutzers; eating, each time 12 kreutzers; meals with wine 6 
and one-half florins; 3 kreutzers for B. and H.; it is not necessary 
to give the housekeeper more than 7 florins, the rooms are so close 
to the ground."^ 

Beethoven was hardly well settled in his lodgings, the novelty 
of his position had scarcely begun to wear off under the effect of 
habit, when startling tidings reached him from Bonn of an event 
to cloud his Christmas holidays, to weaken his ties to his native 
place, to increase his cares for his brothers and make an important 
change in his pecuniary condition. His father had suddenly died 
— "1792, Dec. 18, obiit Johannes Beethoff," says the death-roll 
of St. Remigius parish. The Elector-Archbishop, still in Munster, 
heard this news also and consecrated a joke to the dead man's 
memory. On the 1st of January, 1793, he wrote a letter to Court 
Marshal von Schall in which these words occur: 

The revenues from the liquor excise have suffered a loss in the 
deaths of Beethoven and Eichhoff. For the widow of the latter, provision 
will be made if circumstances allow in view of his 40 years of service — 
in the electoral kitchen. 

Franz Ries was again to befriend Beethoven and act for him 
in his absence, and the receipt for his first quarter's salary (25 th.) 
is signed "F. Ries, in the name of Ludwig Beethoven," at the 
usual time, namely the beginning of the second month of the 
quarter, February 4. But the lapse of Johann van Beethoven's 
pension of 200 thalers, was a serious misfortune to his son, par- 
ticularly since the 100 ducats were not forthcoming. The corre- 
spondence between Beethoven and Ries not being preserved it 
can only be conjectured that the latter took the proper steps to 
obtain that portion of the pension set apart by the electoral 
decree for the support of the two younger sons; but in vain, 
owing to the disappearance of the original document; and that, 
receiving information of this fact, Beethoven immediately sent 
from Vienna the petition which follows, but which, as is mostly 
the case with that class of papers in the Bonn archives, is 
without date: 



'Beethoven's first lodgings were in an attic-room which he soon exchanged for a 
room on the ground floor of a house No. 45 Alsterstrasse occupied by one Strauss, a 
printer. The house now on the site is No. 30. Another occupant of the house was 
Prince Lichnowsky, who soon after tooli him into his lodgings. He remained in this 
house until May, 1795. 



Del\th of Johanx van Beethoven 149 

Several years ago Your Serene Electoral Highness was graciously 
pleased to retire my father, the tenor singer van Beethoven, from service, 
and to set aside 100 thalers of his salary to me that I might clothe, 
nourish and educate my two younger brothers and also pay the debts 
of my father. 

I was about to present this decree to Your Highness's Revenue 
Exchequer when my father urgently begged me not to do so inasmuch 
as it would have the appearance in the eyes of the public as if he were 
incapable of caring for his family, adding that he would himself pay me 
the 25 thalers quarterly, which he always did. 

When, however, on the death of my father (in December of last 
year) I wished to make use of Your Highness's grace by presenting the 
above-mentioned gracious decree I learned to my terror, that my father 
had misapplied {unterschlagen = to embezzle) the same. 

In most obedient veneration I therefore pray Your Electoral High- 
ness for the gracious renewal of this decree and that Your Highness's 
Revenue Exchequer be directed to pay over to me the sum graciously 
allowed to me due for the last quarter at the beginning of last February. 
Your Electoral and Serene Highness's 
Most obedient and faithful 

Lud. V. Beethoven; Court Organist. 

The petition was duly considered by the Privy Council 
and with the result indicated by the endorsement: 

.... "The 100 reichsthaler which he is now receiving 
annually is increased by a further 100 reichsthaler in 
ad sup. quarterly payments beginning with January 1st, from 

of the the 200 rth. salary vacated by the death of his 

Court Organist father; he is further to receive the three measures of 
L. van Beethoven grain graciously bestowed upon him for the educa- 
tion of his brothers." The Electoral Court Chancel- 
lory will make the necessary provisions. Attest p. 

The order to the exchequer followed on May S^th, and on 
June 15th, Franz Ries had the satisfaction of signing receipts — 
one for 25 thalers for January, February and March, and one for 
50 thalers for the second quarter of the year; hut from tliis time 
onward no hint has yet been discovered that Beetlioven ever 
received anything from the Elector or had any resources but his 
own earnings and the generosity of newly-found friends in Vienna. 
These resources were soon needed. The remark that two florins 
of the payment towards the pianoforte were out of his own money 
proves tliat he possessed a small sum saved uj) by degrees from 
lesson-giving, from presents rec<Mved and tJie like; but it could 
not have been a large amount, while the 25 ducats and the above 
recorded receipts of salary were all too small to have carried him 
through the summer of 179.'J. Here is the second of his monthly 



loO The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

records of necessary and regular expenses in farther proof of this: 
*'14 florins house-rent; 6 fl. 40 x, pianoforte; meals with wine, 
15 fl. and a half; — (?), 3 florins; maid, 1," the sura total being 
as added by himself "11 ducats and one-half florin." And yet 
at the end of the year there are entries that show that he was not 
distressed for money. For instance: "the 24th October, i.e., reckon- 
ing from November 1st, 112 florins and 30 kreutzer"; "2 ducats 
for a seal; 1 florin, 25 kreutzers, copyist"; "Tuesday and Saturday 
from 7 to 8. Sunday from 11 to 12, 3 florins"; and the final entry 
not later in date than 1794 is: "3 carolins in gold, 4 carolins in 
crown thalers and 4 ducats make 7 carolins and 4 ducats and a 
lot of small change." 

In what manner Beethoven was already in 1794 able to remain 
"in Vienna without salary until recalled," to quote the Elector's 
words, will hereafter appear with some degree of certainty; but 
just now he claims attention as pupil of Haydn and Albrechts- 
berger. The citations made in a previous chapter from the letters 
of Neefe and Fischenich prove how strong an impression Beet- 
hoven's powers, both as virtuoso and composer, had made upon 
Joseph Haydn immediately after his reaching Vienna; and no 
man then living was better able to judge on such points. But 
whether the famous chapelmaster, just returned from his English 
triumphs, himself a daring and successful innovator and now very 
busy with compositions in preparation for his second visit to 
London, was the man to guide the studies of a headstrong, self- 
willed and still more daring musical revolutionist was, a priori, a 
very doubtful question. The result proved that he was not. 

The memorandum book has a few entries which relate to 
Haydn. On page 7, that which contains the 15 ducats on the 
12th of October, 1792, there is a column of numerals, the first of 
which reads, "Haidn 8 groschen"; the other twelve, except a single 
"1," all "2"; and on the two pages which happen to have the 
dates of October 24 and 29, 1793, are these two entries: "22 x, 
chocolate for Haidn and me"; "Coffee, 6 x for Haidn and me." 
These notes simply confirm what was known from other sources, 
namely, that Beethoven began to study with Haydn very soon 
after reaching Vienna and continued to be his pupil until the end 
of the year 1793.^ They indicate, also, that the scholar, whatever 
feelings he may have indulged towards the master in secret, kept 
on good terms with him, and that their private intercourse was 
not confined to the hours devoted to lessons in Haydn's room in 

KDr the beginning of 1794, since Haydn left Vienna on January 19, of that year. 



Beethoven's Studies With Haydn 151 

the Hamberger house, No. 99-2 on the (no longer existing) 
Wasserkunstbastei. 

Concerning the course of study during that year, nothing can 
be added to the words of Nottebohm ("Allg. Mus. Zeitung," 
1863-1864), founded upon a most thorough examination of all the 
known manuscripts and authorities which bear upon this question. 
Of the manuscripts Nottebohm says: "They are exercises in simple 
counterpoint on six plain chants in the old modes. . . . He must 
have written more." But what.^^ On this point there are no 
indications to be found. It may be accepted with considerable 
certainty that the contrapuntal exercises were preceded by an 
introductory, though probably brief, study of the nature of con- 
sonances and dissonances. For this the last chapter of the first 
book of Fux's "Gradus ad Parnassum" might have served. 

But this (adds Nottebohm) would not have sufficed to fill the entire 
period. In view of Haydn's predilection for Fux's system it is not con- 
ceivable that there were preliminary exercises, say in the free style or in 
the modern keys; there remains, therefore, no alternative but to go 
back further and opine that the study with Haydn began with the theory 
of harmony and exercises in which the system of Philipp Emanuel Bach 
might have been used. 

"It is certain," says Schindler, "that Beethoven's knowledge 
of the science of harmony at the time when he began his study 
with Haydn did not go beyond thoroughbass." The correctness 
of this opinion of Schindler may be safely left to the judgment of 
the reader. The fact seems to be that Beethoven, conscious of 
the disadvantages attending the want of thorougli systematic 
instruction, distrustful of himself and desirous of bringing to the 
test many of his novel and cherished ideas, Juid determined to 
accomplish a comj)lete course of contrapuntal study, and thus 
renew, revise and reduce to order and system the great mass of 
his previous scientific acquirements. He would, at all events, 
thoroughly know and understand the regular that lie luiglit with 
confidence judge for himself how far to indulge in the irregular. 
To this view, long since adopted, the results of Noltcbolim's 
researches add credibility. It explains, also, how a young man, 
too confi(h*nt in the soundness of his views to l)e willing to alter 
his productions because tlicy contained passages arul i'lfects cen- 
sured by those about him for being other than those of Mozart 
and Haydn, was yet willing, with the modesty of true genius, to 
shut them up in his writing-desk until, through study and obser- 
vation, he could feel himself standing upon the firm basis of sound 



152 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

knowledge and then retain or exclude, according to the dictates 
of an enlightened judgment. 

Beethoven, however, very soon discovered that also in Haydn, 
as a teacher, he had "not found that excellence which he supposed 
he had a right to expect." Ries remembered a remark made by 
him on this point: "Haydn had wished that Beethoven might 
put the word, Tupil of Haydn,' on the title of his first works. 
Beethoven was unwilling to do so because, as he said, though he 
had had some instruction from Haydn he had never learned any- 
thing from him." Still more in point is the oft-repeated story 
of Johann Schenk's kindness to Beethoven, related by Seyfried in 
Grafer's and Schilling's lexica and confirmed by Schindler, which, 
when divested of its errors in dates, may be related thus: Among 
Beethoven's earliest acquaintances in Vienna was the Abbe Joseph 
Gelinek, one of the first virtuosos then in that city and an amaz- 
ingly fruitful and popular composer of variations. It was upon 
him that Carl Maria von Weber, some years afterwards, wrote 
the epigram: 

Kein Thema auf der Welt verschonte dein Genie, 
Das simpelste allein — Dich selbst — variirst du nie! 

"No theme on earth escaped your genius airy, — 
The simplest one of all — yourself — you never vary." 

Czerny told Otto Jahn that his father once met Gelinek 
tricked out in all his finery. "Whither?" he inquired. "I am asked 
to measure myself with a young pianist who is just arrived; I'll 
use him up." A few days later he met him again. "Well, how 
was it?" "Ah, he is no man; he's a devil. He will play me and 
ail of us to death. And how he improvises!" According to 
Czerny, Gelinek remained a sworn enemy to Beethoven. 

It was in Gelinek's lodgings that Schenk heard Beethoven 
improvise for the first time, 

a treat which recalled lively recollections of Mozart. With many mani- 
festations of displeasure, Beethoven, always eager to learn, complained 
to Gelinek that he was never able to make any progress in his contra- 
puntal studies under Haydn, since the master, too variously occupied, 
was unable to pay the amount of attention which he wanted to the 
exercises he had given him to work out. Gelinek spoke on the subject 
with Schenk and asked him if he did not feel disposed to give Beethoven 
a course in composition. Schenk declared himself willing, with ready 
courtesy, but only under two conditions: that it should be without 
compensation of any kind and under the strict seal of secrecy. The 
mutual agreement was made and kept with conscientious fidelity. 



Beethoven's Improvisations 153 

Thus far Seyfried; we shall now permit Schenk to tell his 
own story ;! 

In 1792, His Royal Highness Archduke Maximilian, Elector of 
Cologne, was pleased to send his charge Louis van Beethoven to Vienna 
to study musical composition with Haydn. Towards the end of July, 
Abbe Gelinek informed me that he had made the acquaintance of a young 
man who displayed extraordinary virtuosity on the pianoforte, such, 
indeed, as he had not observed since Mozart. In passing he said that 
Beethoven had been studying counterpoint with Haydn for more than 
six months and was still at work on the first exercise; also that His 
Excellency Baron van Swieten had earnestly recommended the study 
of counterpoint and frequently inquired of him how far he had advanced 
in his studies. As a result of these frequent incitations and the fact 
that he was still in the first stages of his instruction, Beethoven, eager 
to learn, became discontented and often gave expression to his dissatis- 
faction to his friend. Gelinek took the matter much to heart and came 
to me with the question whether I felt disposed to assist his friend in 
the study of counterpoint. I now desired to become better acquainted 
with Beethoven as soon as possible, and a day was fixed for me to meet 
him in Gelinek's lodgings and hear him play on the pianoforte. 

Thus I saw the composer, now so famous, for the first time and 
heard him play. After the customary courtesies he offered to improvise 
on the pianoforte. He asked me to sit beside him. Having struck a 
few chords and tossed off a few figures as if they were of no significance, 
the creative genius gradually unveiled his profound psychological pic- 
tures. My ear was continually charmed by the beauty of the many 
and varied motives which he wove with wonderful clarity and loveliness 
into each other, and I surrendered my heart to the impressions made 
upon it while he gave himself wholly up to his creative imagination, 
and anon, leaving the field of mere tonal charm, boldly stormed the 
most distant keys in order to give expression to violent i)assions. . . . 

The first thing that I did the next day was to visit the still unknown 
artist who had so brilliantly disclosed his mastership. On his writing 
desk I found a few passages from his first lesson in counterpoint. A 
cursory glance disclosed the fact that, brief as it was, there were mistakes 
in every key. Gelinek's utterances were thus verified. Feeling sure 
that my puf)!! was unfamiliar with the j)reHminary rules of counterpoint, 
I gave him the familiar textbook of Joseph Fux, "Gradusad Parnassum," 
and asked him to look at the exercises that followed. Josei)h Haydn, 
who had returned to Vienna towards the end of the preceding year,'' 
was intent on utili/Jrig his muso in the cornposition of large niasterworks, 
and thus laudably occupied could not well devote himself to the rules 
of grammar. I was now eagerly desirous to become the helper of the 
zealous student. But bcfon; beginning the instruction I made him 
understand that our cooperation would have to be kept secret. In 

'The excerpt from Schenk's autobiography which follows was communicated to 
Thayer by C)tto .lahn and included in tin- app<'n<lix to Vol. II of the original edition of 
this biography. The present editor has fcjilowcd Dr. Deiters in his presentation of the 
case in Vol. I of the revised edition. 

*Haydn, according to Wurzbach, returned to Vienna on July 24, 1792. 



154 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

view of this I recommended that he copy every exercise which I corrected 
in order that Haydn should not recognize the handwriting of a stranger 
when tlie exercise was submitted to him. After a year, Beethoven and 
Gelinek had a falling out for a reason that has escaped me; both, it 
seemed to me, were at fault. As a result Gelinek got angry and be- 
trayed my secret. Beethoven and his brothers made no secret of it longer. 
I began my honorable office with my good Louis in the beginning 
of August, 1792,1 and filled it uninterruptedly until May, 1793,^ by which 
time he finished double counterpoint in the octave and went to Eisen- 
stadt. If His Royal Highness had sent his charge at once to Albrechts- 
berger his studies would never have been interrupted and he would 
have completed them. 

Here follows a passage, afterward stricken out by Schenk, 
in which he resents the statement that Beethoven had finished 
his studies with Albrechtsberger. This would have been advis- 
able, but if it were true, Gelinek as well as Beethoven would have 
told him of the fact. "On the contrary, he admitted to me that 
he had gone to Herr Salieri, Royal Imperial Chapelmaster, for 
lessons in the free style of composition." Then Schenk continues : 

About the middle of May he told me that he would soon go with 
Haydn to Eisenstadt and stay there till the beginning of winter; he did 
not yet know the date of his departure. I went to him at the usual hour 
in the beginning of June but my good Louis was no longer to be seen. He 
left for me the following little billet which I copy word for word: 

"Dear Schenk! 

It was not my desire to set of? to-day for Eisenstadt. I should 
like to have spoken with you again. Meanwhile rest assured of my 
gratitude for the favors shown me. I shall endeavor with all my might 
to requite them. I hope soon to see you again, and once more to enjoy 
the pleasure of your society. Farewell and 

do not entirely forget 
your 

Beethoven." 

It was my intention only briefly to touch upon my relations with 
Beethoven; but the circumstances under which, and the manner in 
which I became his guide in musical composition constrained me to 
be somewhat more explicit. For my efforts (if they can be called efforts) 
I was rewarded by my good Louis with a precious gift, viz.: a firm bond 
of friendship which lasted without fading till the day of his death. 

Written in the summer of 1830. 

A chronological difficulty is presented by Schenk's story of 
the cessation of the instruction. There can be no doubt that it 
began towards the beginning of August, 1793, as confirmed by the 

'Schenk is in error as to both dates. He means, of course, 1793 and 1794. 



Beethoven's Relations with Haydn 155 

distinct utterance of Schenk (who errs in the year, however), 
particularly by the statement that the study with Haydn had 
already endured six months. Schenk's instruction is said to have 
lasted till the end of May, 1794, and the definitive mention of the 
month makes an error improbable. But at this time Haydn was 
already long in England, while Schenk's narrative represents 
Beethoven as saying that he intended going to Eisenstadt w^ith 
Haydn; moreover, Beethoven was already Albrechtsberger's 
pupil and as such was no longer in need of secret help. Never- 
theless, the continuance of the relations with Schenk is easily 
possible and they were not likely to be interrupted so long as Beet- 
hoven remained in Vienna; this is indicated by the reference to 
double counterpoint, which Beethoven did not study under Haydn 
but with Albrechtsberger; also Schenk's intimation that if the 
Elector had sent his charge "at once" to Albrechtsberger shows 
that instruction with the latter had already begun. The letter to 
Schenk, though cast in friendly terms, can nevertheless be inter- 
preted as a declination of further services, a breaking off of the 
relationship between teacher and pupil, for which the journey to 
Eisenstadt was a welcome excuse. But we learn only from Schenk 
that Beethoven was to make the journey wnth Haydn, and he may 
have been mistaken in this as he was in the year. It is very 
conceivable that Beethoven had received an invitation to visit 
him from Prince Esterhazj', who must surely have got acquainted 
w'ith him in Vienna. He who is unwilling to accept this, must 
place the letter and the journey in the last months of 1793, which 
is in every respect improbable. 

The relations between Haydn and his pupil did not long con- 
tinue truly cordial; yet Beethoven concealed his dissatisfaction 
and no break occurred. Thoughtless and reckless of consecjuences, 
as lie often in later years unfortunately exhibited himself when 
indulging his wilfulness, he was at this time responsible to the 
Elector for his conduct, and Haydn, moreover, was too valuable 
and influential a friend to be wantonly alienated. So, whatever 
feelings he cherished in secret, he kei)t them to himself, went reg- 
ularly to his lessons and, as noted above, occasionally treated his 
master to chocolate or coffee. It was, of course, Haydn wlio took 
the young man to Eisenstadt, and, as Neefe tells us, he wished to 
take him to England. Wliy was that plan not carried out.^ Did 
Maximilian forbid it.^ Wouhl Beethoven's pride not allow him 
to go thither as Haj'dn's })upil.^ Did ze.il for liis contrapuntnl 
studies prevent it.^ Or liad his relations to the Austrian nobility 
already become such as offered him higher hopes of success in 



156 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Vienna than Haydn could propose in London? Or, finally, was 
it his ambition rather to make himself known as Beethoven the 
composer than as Beethoven the pianoforte virtuoso? Pecuniary 
reasons are insufficient to account for the failure of the plan; for 
Haydn, who now knew the London public, could easily have re- 
moved all difficulty on that score. Neefe's letter was written 
near the end of September, 1793, when already "a number of 
reports" had reached Bonn "that Beethoven had made great 
progress in his art." These "reports," we know from Fischenich, 
came in part from Haydn himself. Add to that the wish to take 
his pupil with him to England — which was certainly the highest 
compliment he could possibly have paid him — and the utter 
groundlessness of Beethoven's suspicions that Haydn "was not 
well-minded towards him," as Ries says in his "Notizen" (page 85), 
is apparent. Yet these suspicions, added to the reasons above 
suggested, sufficiently explain the departure of the master for 
London without the company of his pupil, who now (January, 
1794) was transferred to Albrechtsberger. 

In the pretty extensive notes copied from the memorandum 
book already so much cited, there are but two which can with 
any degree of certainty be referred to a date later than 1793. One 
of them is this: 

Schuppanzigh, 3 times a W. (Week?) 
Albrechtsberger, 3 times a W. (Week?) 

The necessary inference from this is that Beethoven began 
the year 1794 with three lessons a week in violin-playing from 
Schuppanzigh (unless the youth of the latter should forbid such 
an inference) and three in counterpoint from the most famous 
teacher of that science. Seyfried affirms that the studies with 
the latter continued "two complete years with tireless persistency." 
The coming narrative will show that other things took up much 
of Beethoven's attention in 1795, and that before the close of that 
year, if not already at its beginning, his course with Albrechts- 
berger ended. 1 

The instruction which Beethoven received from Albrechts- 
berger (and which was based chiefly on the master's "Anweisung 
zur Komposition") began again with simple counterpoint, in which 
Beethoven now received more detailed directions than had been 
given by Haydn. Albrechtsberger wrote down rules for him, 

'The investigations of Nottebohm. in "Beethoven's Studien" and "Beet- 
hoveniana," have been relied on in the compilation of the story of the study under 
Albrechtsberger, which takes the place of the original narrative by Thayer. 



Stxtoies with Albrechtsberger 157 

Beethoven did the same and worked out a large number of 
exercises on two plain-song melodies which Albrechtsberger then 
corrected according to the rules of strict writing. There followed 
contrapuntal exercises in free writing, in imitation, in two-, 
three- and four-part fugue, choral fugue, double counterpoint in 
the different intervals, double fugue, triple counterpoint and 
canon. The last was short, as here the instruction ceased. 
Beethoven worked frequently in the immediate presence and 
with the direct cooperation of Albrechtsberger. The latter 
labored with obvious conscientiousness and care, and was ever 
ready to aid his pupil. If he appears at times to have been 
given over to minute detail and conventional method, it must be 
borne in mind that rigid schooling in fixed rules is essential to the 
development of an independent artist, even if he makes no use of 
them, and that it is only in this manner that freedom in workman- 
ship can be achieved. Of this the youthful Beethoven was aware 
and every line of his exercises bears witness that he entered into 
his studies with complete interest and undivided zeal. ^ This was 
particularly the case in his exercises in counterpoint and imita- 
tion, where he strove to avoid errors, and their beneficial results 
are plainly noticeable in his compositions. Several of the compo- 
sitions written after the lessons, disclose how "he was led from a 
predominantly figurative to a more contrapuntal manner of 
writing." There is less of this observable in the case of fugue, in 
which the instruction itself was not free from deficiencies; and the 
pupil worked more carelessly. The restrictive rules occasionally 
put him out of conceit with his work; "he was at the age in which, 
as a rule, suggestion and incitation are preferred to instruction,'* 
and his stubborn nature played an important role in the premises. 
However, it ought to be added that he was also at an age when his 
genial aptness in invention and construction had already found 
exercise in other directions. Even though he did not receive 
thorough education in fugue from Albrechtsberger, he nevertheless 
learned the constituent elements of the form and how to apply 
them. Moreover, in his later years he made all these things the 
subjects of earnest and devoted study independent of otliers; and 
in the compositions of his later years he returned with special and 
manifest predilection to the fugued style. Nothing could be more 
incorrect than to emphasize Beethoven's lack of theoretical etluca- 
tion. If, while studying with Albrechtsborger, but more particu- 
larly in his independent compositions, Beethoven ignored many 

'Once Beethoven writes an unprepared seventh-chord with a suspension on the 
margin of an exercise and adds the query: "Is it allowed?" 



158 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

of the strict rules, it was not because he was not able to apply 
them, but because he purposely set them aside. Places can be 
found in his exercises in which the rules are violated; but the testi- 
mony of the ear acquits the pupil. Rules are not the objects of 
themselves, they do not exist for their own sake, and in despite of 
all artistic systems; it is the reserved privilege of the evolution of 
art-means and prescient, forward genius to point out what in 
them is of permanent value, and what must be looked upon as 
antiquated. Nature designed that Beethoven should employ 
music in the depiction of soul-states, to emancipate melody and 
express his impulses in the free forms developed by Ph. Em. Bach, 
Mozart, Haydn and their contemporaries. In this direction he 
had already disclosed himself as a doughty warrior before the in- 
struction in Vienna had its beginning, and it is very explicable 
that to be hemmed in by rigid rules was frequently disagreeable 
to him. He gradually wearied of "creating musical skeletons." 
But all the more worthy of recognition, yea, of admiration, is the 
fact that the young composer who had already mounted so high, 
should by abnegation of his creative powers surrender himself to 
the tyranny of the rules and find satisfaction in conscientious 
practice of them. 

Nottebohm summed up his conclusions from the investiga- 
tions which he made of Beethoven's posthumous papers thus: 
prefacing that, after 1785, Beethoven more and more made the 
manner of Mozart his own, he continues: 

The instruction which he received from Haydn and Albrechts- 
berger enriched him with new forms and media of expression and these 
effected a change in his mode of writing. The voices acquired greater 
melodic flow and independence. A certain opacity took the place of 
the former transparency in the musical fabric. Out of a homophonic 
polyphony of two or more voices, there grew a polyphony that was real. 
The earlier obbligato accompaniment gave way to an obbligato style 
of writing which rested to a greater extent on counterpoint. Beethoven 
has accepted the principle of polyphony; his part-writing has become 
purer and it is noteworthy that the compositions written immediately 
after the lessons are among the purest that Beethoven ever composed. 
True, the Mozart model still shines through the fabric, but we seek it 
less in the art of figuration than in the form and other things which are 
only indirectly associated with the obbligato style. Similarly, we can 
speak of other influences — that of Joseph Haydn, for instance. This 
influence is not contrapuntal. Beethoven built upon his acquired and 
inherited possessions. He assimilated the traditional forms and means 
of expression, gradually eliminated foreign influences and, following 
the pressure of his subjective nature with its inclination towards the 
ideal, he created his own individual style. 



What Beethoven Le.\rned 159 

As is known, Seyfried in his book entitled "Ludwig van Beet- 
hoven's Studien im Generalbasse," which appeared in 1832, 
gathered together all that was to be found in the way of exercises, 
excerpts from textbooks, etc., in Beethoven's posthumous papers 
and presented them in so confused and arbitrary a manner that 
only the keenness and patience of a Nottebohm could point the 
way through the maze; Seyfried would have us believe that the 
entire contents of his book belonged to the studies under Albrechts- 
berger. 

It will require no waste of words, says Nottebohm (p. 198), to 
prove the incompatibility of such a claim with the results of our investi- 
gations. As a matter of fact, only the smallest portion of the "Studies" 
can be traced back to the instruction which Beethoven received from 
Albrechtsberger. The greater part had nothing to do with this instruc- 
tion and, aside from the changes made, belongs to the other labors. In 
the smaller portion Seyfried made things as easy for himself as possible. 
Of Beethoven's exercises he took only such as he found cleanly copied or 
legibly written, and omitted those which were difficult to decipher because 
of many corrections. This is the explanation of the fact that Seyfried 
did not include a single exercise in strict simple counterpoint. If all the 
passages bearing on the course followed under Albrechtsberger were 
brought together and all the errors made in the presentation overlooked, 
we should still have but a fragmentary and faulty reflection of that 
study. Neither need we enter upon a discussion of the marginal notes 
attributed to Beethoven which so plentifully besprinkle Seyfried's book. 
The fact is that in all the manuscripts which belong to the studies under 
Albrechtsberger not one of the "sarcastically thrown out" marginal 
notes is to be found. The glosses which do appear as Beethoven's .... 
are of a wholly different character from those printed by Seyfried. They 
show that Beethoven was deeply immersed and interested in the matter. 
It would, indeed, be inexplical^le what could have persuaded Beethoven 
to continue study with a teacher with whom, as Seyfried would have U3 
believe, he was in conflict already at the beginning of simple counter- 
point. He had it in his power to discontinue his studies at any moment. 

A doubt has })een hinted above whether Beethoven's studies 
under Albrechtsberger were continued beyond tlie beginning of 
the year 1795. If all these exerci.ses in counterpoint, fugue and 
canon, and all those excerpts from Fux, C. P. E. Bach, Tiirk, 
Albrechtsberger, and Kirnberger, which Seyfried made the basis 
of bis "Studien" — and mingled in a confusion inextricable by any 
one possessing less learning, patience, sagacity and perseverance 
than Nottebohm — had already belonged to the period of his pupil- 
age, their quantity alone, taken in connection with the writer's 
other occupations, would indeed preclude such a doubt; but 
knowing that perhaps the greater portion of those manuscripts 
belongs to a period many years later, and considering the great 



160 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

facility in writing which Beethoven had already acquired before 
coming to Vienna, there seems to be no indication of any course 
of study which might not easily be completed during the one year 
with Haydn (and Schenk) and one year with Albrechtsberger. 
Schonfeld, in the "Jahrbuch der Tonkunst fur Wien und Prag," 
supposes that Beethoven was still the pupil of the latter at the 
time when he wrote, which was in the spring of 1795. His words 
are: "An eloquent proof of his [Beethoven's] real love of art is 
the circumstance that he has placed himself in the hands of our 
immortal Haydn, in order to be initiated into the sacred mysteries 
of composition. This great master has, in his absence, turned 
him over to our great Albrechtsberger." There is nothing decisive 
in this; and yet it is all that appears to confirm the "two years" 
of Seyfried; while on the other hand Wegeler, who, during all the 
year 1795, was much with Beethoven, has nowhere in his "Notizen" 
any allusion whatever to his friend as being still a student under 
a master. 

Referring to the number of pages (160) of exercises and the 
three lessons a week, Nottebohm calculates the period of instruc- 
tion to have been about fifteen months. Inasmuch as among 
the exercises in double counterpoint in the tenth there is found 
a sketch belonging to the second movement of the Trio, Op. 1, 
No. 2, which Trio was advertised as finished on May 9th, 1795, it 
follows that the study was at or near its end at that date. The 
conclusion of his instruction from Albrechtsberger may there- 
fore be set down at between March and May, 1795. 

The third of Beethoven's teachers in Vienna was the Imperial 
Chapelmaster Anton Salieri; but this instruction was neither 
systematic nor confined to regular hours. Beethoven took advan- 
tage of Salieri's willingness "to give gratuitous instruction to 
musicians of small means." He wanted advice in vocal compo- 
sition, and submitted to Salieri some settings of Italian songs 
which the latter corrected in respect of verbal accent and expres- 
sion, rhythm, metrical articulation, subdivision of thought, mood, 
singableness, and the conduct of the melody which comprehended 
all these things. Having himself taken the initiative in this, 
Beethoven devoted himself earnestly and industriously to these 
exercises, and they were notably profitable in his creative work. 
"Thereafter [also in his German songs] he treated the text with 
much greater care than before in respect of its prosodic structure, 
as also of its contents and the prescribed situation," and acquired 
a good method of declamation. That Salieri's influence extended 
beyond the period in which Beethoven's style developed itself 



Instruction From Salieri 161 

independently cannot be asserted, since many other and varied 
influences made themselves felt later. 

This instruction began soon after Beethoven's arrival in 
Vienna and lasted in an unconstrained manner at least until 1802; 
at even a later date he asked counsel of Salieri in the composition 
of songs, particularly Italian songs. According to an anecdote 
related by Czern3% at one of these meetings for instruction Salieri 
found fault with a melody as not being appropriate to the air. The 
next day he said to Beethoven: "I can't get your melody out of 
my head." "Then, Herr von Salieri," replied Beethoven, "it 
cannot have been so utterly bad." The story may be placed in 
the early period; but it appears from a statement by Moscheles 
that Beethoven still maintained an association with Salieri in 
1809. Moscheles, who was in Vienna at this time, found a 
note on Salieri's table which read: "The pupil Beethoven was 
here!" 

Ries, speaking of the relations between Haydn, Albrechts- 
berger and Salieri as teachers and Beethoven as pupil, says: "I 
knew them all well ; all three valued Beethoven highly, but were 
also of one mind touching his habits of study. All of them said 
Beethoven was so headstrong and self-sufficient (selbstwollend) that 
he had to learn much through harsh experience which he had re- 
fused to accept when it was presented to him as a subject of study.'* 
Particularly Alhrechtsberger and Salieri were of this opinion; 
"the dry rules of the former and the comparatively unimportant 
ones of the latter concerning dramatic composition (according to 
the Italian school of the period) could not appeal to Beethoven." 
It is now known that the "dry rules" of Alhrechtsberger could 
make a strong appeal to Beethoven as appertaining to theoretical 
study, and that the old method of composition to which he re- 
mained true all his life always had a singular charm for him as a 
subject of study and investigation. 

Here, as in many other cases, the simple statement of the 
difficulties suggests their explanation. Beethoven the pupil may 
have honestly and conscientiously followed the precepts of his 
instructors in whatever he wrote in that character; but Beethoven 
the composer stood upon his own territory, followed his own tastes 
and impulses, wrote and wrought subject to no other control. He 
paid Alhrechtsberger to teach him counterpoint— not to be the 
censor and critic of his compositions. And Ries's memory may 
well have deceived him as to the actual .scope of the .strictures 
made by the old master, and have transferred to the pupil what, 
fully thirty years before, had been spoken of the composer. 



16^ The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

As has been mentioned, Beethoven's relations with Salieri 
at a hiter date were still pleasant; the composer dedicated to the 
chapelmaster the three violin sonatas. Op. 12, which appeared in 
1799. Nothing is known of a dedication to Albrechtsberger. 
According to an anecdote related by Albrechtsberger's grandson 
Hirsch, Beethoven called him a "musical pedant"; yet we may 
see a remnant of gratitude toward his old teacher in Beethoven's 
readiness to take an interest in his young grandson. 

We have now to turn our attention to Beethoven's relations 
to Viennese society outside of his study. 



Chapter XII 



Music in Vienna in 1793 — Theatre, Church and Concert- 
Room — A Music-Loving Nobihty — The Esterhazys, 
Kinsky, Lichnowsky, von Kees and van Swieten — 
Composers: Haydn, Kozeluch, Forster and Eberl. 

THE musical drama naturally took the first place in the musical 
life of Vienna at tliis period. The enthusiasm of Joseph II for 
a national German opera, to which the world owed Mozart's 
exquisite "Entfiihrung," proved to be but short-lived, and the 
Italian opera huffa resumed its old place in his affections. The new 
company engaged was, however, equal to the performance of 
"Don Giovanni" and "Figaro" and Salieri's magnificent "Axur." 
Leopold II reached Vienna on the evening of March 13, 1790, to 
assume the crown of his deceased brother, but no change was, for 
the present, made in the court theatre. Indeed, as late as July 
5 he had not entered a theatre, and his first appearance at the opera 
was at the performance of 'Axur," September 21, in the company 
of his visitor King Ferdinand of Naples; but once firmly settled 
on the imperial throne, Joseph's numerous reforms successfully 
annulled, the Turkish war brought to a close and his diverse coro- 
nations hai)pily ended, the Emperor gave his thoughts to the 
theatre. Salieri, though now but forty-one years of age, and rich 
with the observation and experience of more than twenty years 
in the direction of the opera, was, according to INIosel, graciously 
allowed, but according to other and better authorities, c()m})elled, 
to witlidraw from tlie oi)eratic orchestra and confine himself to 
his duties as director of the sacred music in the court chapel and 
to the composition of one operatic work annually, if recjuired. 
The "Wiener Zeitung" of January 28, 1792, records the appoint- 
ment of Joseph Wcigl, Salieri's ])upil and assistant, now twenty- 
five years old, "as Chapelniaster and Composer 1o the Royal 
Imperial National Court Theatre witli a salary of 1,000 florins." 
The title Composer was rather an empty one. Thou/^di already 
favorably known to the public, he was forbidden to compose new 

[163] 



1()4 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

operas for the court stage. To this end famous masters were to 
be invited to Vienna. A first fruit of this new order of things was 
the production of Cimarosa's "II Matrimonio segreto," February 
7, 179^2, which with good reason so delighted Leopold that he 
gave tJie performers a supper and ordered them back into the theatre 
and heard the opera again da capo. It was among the last of the 
Emperor's theatrical pleasures; he died March 1st, and his wife 
on the 15th of May following. Thus for the greater part of the 
time from March 1 to May 24, the court theatres were shut; and 
yet during the thirteen months ending December 15, 1792, Italian 
opera had been given 180 times — 134 times in the Burg and 46 
times in the Karnthnerthor-Theater — and ballet 163 times; so 
that, as no change for the present was made, there was abundance 
in these branches of the art for a young composer, like Beethoven, 
to hear and see. All accounts agree that the company then per- 
forming was one of uncommon excellence and its performances, 
with those of the superb orchestra, proved the value of the long 
experience, exquisite taste, unflagging zeal and profound knowl- 
edge of their recent head, Salieri. Such as Beethoven found the 
opera in the first week of November, 1792, such it continued for 
the next two years — exclusively Italian, but of the first order. 

A single stroke of extraordinary good fortune — a happy 
accident is perhaps a better term — had just now given such pros- 
perity to a minor theatrical enterprise that in ten years it was to 
erect and occupy the best playhouse in Vienna and, for a time, 
to surpass the Court Theatre in the excellence and splendor of its 
operatic performances. We mean Schikaneder's Theater auf der 
Wieden; but in 1793 its company was mean, its house small, its 
performances bad enough. 

Schikaneder's chapelmaster and composer was John Baptist 
Henneberg; the chapelmaster of Marinelli, head of another Ger- 
man company in the Leopoldstadt, was Wenzel Muller, who 
had already begun his long list of 227 light and popular composi- 
tions to texts magical or farcical. Some two weeks after Beet- 
hoven's arrival in Vienna, on November 23rd, Schikaneder an- 
nounced, falsely, the one-hundredth performance of "Die Zauber- 
flote," an opera the success of which placed his theatre a few years 
later upon a totally different footing, and brought Beethoven into 
other relations to it than those of an ordinary visitor indulging 
his comical taste, teste Seyfried, for listening to and heartily 
enjoying very bad music. 

The leading dramatic composers of Vienna, not yet named, 
must receive a passing notice. Besides Cimarosa, who left Vienna 



Opera and Concerts in Vienna 165 

a few months later, Beethoven found Peter Dutillieu, a Frenchman 
by birth but an Italian musician by education and profession, 
engaged as composer for the Court Theatre. His "II Trionfo 
d'Amore" had been produced there November 14, 1791, and his 
*'Nanerina e Padolfino" had lately come upon the stage. Ignaz 
Umlauf, composer of "Die schone Schusterin" and other not un- 
popular works, had the title of Chapelmaster and Composer to 
the German Court Opera, and was Salieri's substitute as chapel- 
master in the sacred music of the Court Chapel. Franz Xavier 
Siissmayr, so well known from his connection with Mozart, was 
just now writing for Schikaneder's stage; Schenk for Marinelli's 
and for the private stages of the nobility; and Paul Wranitzky, 
first violinist and so-called Musikdirektor in the Court Theatre, 
author of the then popular "Oberon" composed for the Wieden 
stage, was employing his very respectable talents for both Marinelli 
and Schikaneder. 

The church music of Vienna seems to have been at a very low 
point in 1792 and 1793. Two composers, however, whose names 
are still of importance in musical history, were then in that city 
devoting themselves almost exclusively to this branch of the art; 
Albrechtsberger, Court Organist, but in a few months (through 
the death of Leopold Hoffmann, March 17, 1793) to become 
musical director at St. Stephen's; and Joseph Eybler (some five 
years older than Beethoven), who had just become Regens chori 
in the Carmelite church, whence he was called to a similar and 
better position in the Schottische Kirche two years later. 

Public concerts, as the term is now understood, may be said 
not to have existed, and regular subscription concerts were few. 
Mozart gave a few series of them, but after his death there appears 
to have been no one of sufficient note in tlie musical world to 
make such a speculation remunerative. Single subscription con- 
certs given by virtuosos, and annual ones by some of the leading 
resident musicians, of course, took place then as before and since. 
The only real and regular concerts were tlie four annual perform- 
ances in the Burgtheater, two at Christmas and two at KasU-r, 
for the benefit of the musicians' widows an<l orphans. Tliese 
concerts, established mainly l)y Gassmann and Salieri, were never 
exclusive in their programmes — oratorio, symphony, cantata, con- 
certo, whatever would add to their attraction, found place. The 
stage was covered with the best musicians and vocalists of the 
capital and the superb orchestra was eqnally ready to acconipany 
the playing of a Mozart or of an ephemeral Wmidrrkind. liisKeek 
was told ten years before that tiie number taking part in orchestra 



Kit) The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

and dionis had even then on some occasions reached 400 — a state- 
ment, liowever, which looks much like exaggeration. 

Very uncommon semi-private concerts were still kept up in 
170S. Tlie reader of Mozart's biography will remember that in 
178-2 this great composer joined a certain Martin in giving a series 
of concerts during the morning hours in the Augarten Hall, most 
of the performers being dilettanti and the music being furnished 
from the library of von Kees. These concerts found such favor 
that they were renewed for several years and generally were twelve 
in number. 

Ladies of even the highest nobility permitted themselves to be heard. 
The auditorium was extremely brilliant and everything was conducted in 
so orderly and decent a fashion that everybody was glad to support the 
institute to the best of his energies. The receipts from the chief sub- 
scription were expended entirely on the cost of the concerts. Later 
Herr Rudolph assumed the direction. ("Allg. Mus. Zeitung," III, 45.) 

This man, still young, and a fine violin-player, was the director 
when Beethoven came to Vienna, and the extraordinary spectacle 
was still to be seen of princes and nobles following his lead in the 
])erformance of orchestral music to an audience of their own class 
at the strange hours of from 6 to 8 in the morning ! 

From the above it appears that Vienna presented to the 
young musician no preeminent advantages either in opera, church- 
music or its public concerts. Other cities equalled the Austrian 
capital in the first two, and London was then far in advance of all 
in the number, variety and magnificence of the last. It was in 
another field that Vienna surpassed every competitor. As Gluck 
twenty years before had begun the great revolution in operatic 
music completed by Mozart, so Haydn, building on the founda- 
tion of the Bachs and aided by Mozart, was effecting a new de- 
velopment of purely instrumental music which was yet to reach 
its highest stage through the genius and daring of the youth now 
his pupil. The example set by the Austrian family through so 
many generations had produced its natural effect, and a knowl- 
ed^'e of and taste for music were universal among the princes and 
nobles of the empire. Some of the more wealthy princes, like 
Esterhazy, maintained musical establishments complete even to 
the Italian opera; others were contented with hearing the mass 
sung in their house-chapel to an orchestral accompaniment; where 
this was impossible, a small orchestra only was kept up, often com- 
posed of the officials and servants, who were selected with regard 
to their musical abilities; and so down to the band of wind-instru- 
ments, the string quartet, and even to a single organ-player, 



Orchestil\s of the Great Nobles 167 

pianist or violinist. What has been said in a former chapter of 
music as a quasi-necessity at the courts of the ecclesiastical princes, 
applies in great measure to the secular nobility. At their castles 
and country-seats in the summer, amusement was to be provided 
for many an otherwise tedious hour; and in their city residences 
during the winter they and their guests could not always feast, 
dance or play at cards; and here, too, music became a common and 
favored recreation. At all events, it was the fashion. Outside 
the ranks of the noble-born, such as by talents, high culture or 
wealth occupied high social positions, followed the example and 
opened their salons to musicians and lovers of music, moved there- 
to for the most part by a real, rarely by a pretended, taste for the 
art — in either case aiding and encouraging its progress. Hence, an 
enormous demand for chamber music, both vocal and instrumental, 
especially the latter. The demand created the supply by encour- 
aging genius and talent to labor in that direction; and tluis the 
Austrian school of instrumental music soon led the world, as in the 
previous generation the demand for oratorios in England gave that 
country the supremacy in that branch of art. 

During certain months of the year, Vienna was filled with the 
greatest nobles, not only of the Austrian states, but of other por- 
tions of the German Empire. Those who spent their time mostly 
in their own small courts came up to the capital but for a short 
season; others reversed this, making the city their usual residence 
and visiting their estates only in summer. By the former class 
many a once (if not still) famous composer in their service was thus 
occasionally for short periods brought to the metropolis — us 
Mozart by the brutal Archl)isliop of Salzburg, and Haydn by 
Prince Esterhazy. By the latter class many of the distinguished 
composers and virtuosos resident in the city were taken into the 
country during the summer to be treated as equals, to live like 
gentlemen among gentlemen. Another mode of encounigiiig tlie 
art was the ordering or purchasing of conij)Ositions; and tJiis not 
only from conij)os('rs of establislicd reputation, as Haydn, INIozart, 
C. P. K. Bach, but also from young and as yet unknown men; thus 
affording a twofold benefit — pecuniary aid and an opportunity of 
exhibiting their powers. 

The instrumental virtuosos, when not permanently engaged 
in the service of some prince or theatre, looked in the main for the 
reward of their studies and labors to the private concerts of the 
nobility. If at the same time tJiey were conii)os('rs, it was in sucli 
concerts that they brought their product ions to a hearing. 'l\w. 
reader of Jahn's biography of Mozart will remember how much 



1(38 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

even he depended upon this resource to gain the means of support 
for himself and family. Out of London, even so late as 1793, there 
can hardly be said to have existed a "musical public," as the term 
is now understood, and in Vienna at least, with its 200,000 inhabi- 
tants, a virtuoso rarely ventured to announce a concert to which 
he had not already a subscription, sufficient to ensure him against 
loss, from those at whose residences he had successfully exhibited 
his skill. Beethoven, remaining "in Vienna without salary until 
recalled" by Max, found in these resources and his pupils an ample 

income. 

But this topic requires something more than the above gen- 
eral remarks. Some twelve years previous to Beethoven's coming 
to Vienna, Risbeck, speaking of the art in that capital, had written: 

^Musicians are the only ones (artists) concerning whom the nobility 
exhibit taste. Many houses maintain private bands for their own delec- 
tation, and all the public concerts prove that this field of art stands in 
high respect. It is possible to enlist four or five large orchestras here, 
all of them incomparable. The number of real virtuosos is small, but 
as regards the orchestral musicians scarcely anything more beautiful 
is to be heard in the world. 

How many such orchestras were still kept up in 1792-'93 it 
is, probably, now impossible to determine. Those of Princes Lob- 
kowitz, Schwarzenberg and Auersperg may safely be named. 
Count Heinrich von Haugwitz and doubtless Count Batthyany 
brought their musicians with them when they came to the capital 
for "the season." The Esterhazy band, dismissed after the death 
of Haydn's old master, seems not yet to have been renewed. Prince 
Grassalkowitz (or Kracsalkowitz) had reduced his to a band of 
eight wind-instruments — oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns — a kind 
of organization then much in vogue. Baron Braun had one to 
play at dinner as at the supper in "Don Giovanni" — an accessory 
to tlie scene which Mozart introduced out of his own frequent 
experience. Prince Karl Lichnowsky and others retained their 
own players of string quartets. 

The grandees of the Bohemian and Moravian capitals — 
Kinsky, Clamm, Nostiz, Thun, Buquoi, Hartig, Salm-Pachta, 
Sporck, FUnfkirchen, etc. — emulated the Austrian and Hungarian 
nobles. As many of them had palaces also in Vienna, and most, 
if not all, spent part of the year there, bringing with them a few 
of the more skilful members of their orchestras to execute chamber 
music and for the nucleus of a band when symphonies, concertos 
and grand vocal works were to be executed, they also added 
their contingent to the musical as well as to the political and 



Titled Music-Lovers in Vienna 169 

fashionable life of the metropolis. The astonishingly fruitful last 
eight years of Mozart's life falling within the period now under 
contemplation, contributed to musical literature compositions won- 
derfully manifold in character and setting an example tliat forced 
other composers to leave the beaten track. Haydn had just re- 
turned from his first stay in London, enriched with the pregnant 
experience acquired during that visit. Van Swieten had gained 
during his residence in Berlin appreciation of and love for the works 
of Handel, Bach and their schools, and since his return to Vienna, 
about 1778, had exerted, and was still exerting, a very powerful 
and marked influence upon Vienna's musical taste. 

Thus all the conditions precedent for the elevation of the art 
were just at this time fulfilled at Vienna, and in one department — 
that of instrumental music — they existed in a degree unknown in 
any other city. The extraordinary results as to the quantity pro- 
duced in those years may be judged from the sale-catalogue (1779) 
of a single music-dealer, Johann Traeg, which gives of symphonies, 
symphonies-concertantes and overtures (the last being in a small 
minority) the extraordinary number of 512. The music produced 
at private concerts given by the nobility ranged from the grand 
oratorios, operas, symphonies, down to variations for the pianoforte 
and to simple songs. Leading musicians and composers, whose 
circumstances admitted of it, also gave private concerts at which 
they made themselves and their works known, and to whicli their 
colleagues were invited. Prince Lobkowitz, at the time Beet- 
hoven reached Vienna, was a young man of twenty years. He was 
born on December 7, 1772, and had just married, on August 2, 
a daughter of Prince Schwarzenberg. He was a violinist of con- 
siderable powers and so devoted a lover of music and the drama, 
so profuse a squanderer of his income upon thorn, as in twenty 
years to reduce himself to bankruptcy. Precisely Beethoven's 
supposed age, the aristocrat of wealth and power and the aristo- 
crat of talent and genius l)ecame exceedingly intimate, occasionally 
quarrelling and making up their differences as if belonging by birth 
to the same sphere. 

The reigning Prince Esterhazy was that Paul Anton who, 
after the death of liis father on February 25, 1790, })roke up the 
musical estal)lishment at Esterhaz and gave Ilaychi relief from liis 
thirty years of service. He died on January 22, 1794, and was 
succeeded l)y his son Nicholas, a young m.-in just five ye.-irs older 
than Beetlioven. Prince Nieliolas inherited liis grandfather's 
taste for nnisic, reengaged an orchestra, and soon beeaine known 
as one of the most zealous promoters of Roman Catholic church- 



170 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

music. The best composers of Vienna, including Beethoven, 
wrote masses for the chapel at Esterhaz, where they were performed 
with great splendor. 

Count Johann Nepomuk Esterhazy, "of the middle line zu 
Frakno," was a man of forty-five years, a good performer upon the 
oboe, and (which is much to his credit) had been a firm friend and 
patron of Mozart. 

Of Count Franz Esterhazy, a man of thirty-five years, Schon- 
feld, in his ''Jahrbuch der Tonkunst," thus speaks: "This great 
friend of music at certain times of the year gives large and splendid 
concerts at which, for the greater part, large and elevated compo- 
sitions are performed — particularly the choruses of Handel, the 
'Sanctus' of Emanuel Bach, the 'Stabat Mater' of Pergolese, and 
the like. At these concerts there are always a number of the best 
virtuosos." 

It was not the present Prince Joseph Kinsky (who died in 
1798 in his forty-eighth year) who at a later period became a dis- 
tinguished patron of Beethoven, but his son Ferdinand Johann 
Nepomuk, then a bright boy of eleven years, born on December 
4, 1781, upon whose youthful taste the strength, beauty and 
novelty of that composer's works made a deep impression. Prince 
Carl Lichnowsky, the pupil and friend of Mozart, had a quartet 
concert at his dwelling every Friday morning. The regularly 
engaged musicians were Ignaz Schuppanzigh, son of a professor 
in the Real-Schule, and a youth at this time of sixteen years (if 
the musical lexica are to be trusted), first violin; Louis Sina, pupil 
of Forster, also a very young man, second violin; Franz Weiss, 
who completed his fifteenth year on January 18, 1793, viola; and 
Anton Kraft, or his son Nicholas, a boy of fourteen years (born 
December 18, 1778), violoncello. It was, in fact, a quartet of 
boy virtuosos, of whom Beethoven, several years older, could make 
what he would. 

The Prince's wife was Marie Christine, twenty years of age, 
one of those "Three Graces," as Georg Forster called them, 
daughters of that Countess Thun in whose house Mozart had found 
such warm friendship and appreciation, and whose noble qualities 
are so celebrated by Burney, Reichardt and Forster. The Princess, 
as well as her husband, belonged to the better class of amateur 
performers upon the pianoforte. 

Court Councillor von Kees, Vice-President of the Court of 
Appeals of Lower Austria, was still living. He was, says Gyrowetz, 
speaking of a period a few years earlier, "recognized as the fore- 
most music-lover and dilettante in Vienna; and twice a week he 



Van Sweeten axd His Influence 171 

gave in his house society concerts at which were gathered together 
the foremost virtuosos of Vienna, and the first composers, such as 
Joseph Haydn, Mozart, Dittersdorf, Hoffraeister, Albrechtsberger, 
Giarnovichi and so on, Haydn's symphonies were played there." 
In Haydn's letters to Madame Genzinger the name of von Kees 
often occurs — the last time in a note of August 4, 1792, which 
mentions that the writer is that day to dine with the Court Coun- 
cillor. This distinguished man left on his death (January 5, 1795) 
a very extensive collection of music. 

Gottfried, Freiherr van Swieten, son of Maria Theresia's 
famous Dutch physician, says Schonfeld, is, 

as it were, looked upon as a patriarch of music. He has taste only for 
the great and exalted. He himself many years ago composed twelve 
beautiful symphonies ("stiff as himself," said Haydn). When he attends 
a concert our semi-connoisseurs never take their eyes off him, seeking to 
read in his features, not always intelligible to every one, what ought to be 
their opinion of the music. Every year he gives a few large and brilliant 
concerts at which only music by the old masters is performed. His prefer- 
ence is for the Handelian manner, and he generally has some of Handel's 
great choruses performed. As late as last Christmas (1794) he gave such 
a concert at Prince von Paar's, at which an oratorio by this master was 
performed. 

Neukomm told Prof. Jahn that in concerts, "if it chanced that 
a whispered conversation began. His Excellency, who was in the 
habit of sitting in the first row of seats, would rise solemnly, draw 
himself up to his full height, turn to the culprits, fix a long and 
solemn gaze upon them, and slowly resume his chair. It was 
effective, always." He had some peculiar notions of composition; 
he was, for instance, fond of imitations of natural sounds in music 
and forced upon Haydn the imitation of frogs in "The Seasons." 
Haydn himself says: 

This entire passage in imitation of a frog did not flow from my 
pen. I was constrained to write down the French croak. At an orches- 
tral performance tliis wretched coiKcit soon disappears, but it cannot 
be justified in a pianoforte score. Let the critics be not too severe on 
me. I am an old man and cannot revise all this again. 

But to van Swieten, surely, is due the credit of having founded 
in Vienna a taste for HandcFs oratorios and IJach's organ and 
pianoforte music, thus adding a new clement to the music there. 
The costs of tlie oratorio j>erformances were not, however, defrayed 
by him, as Schonfeld seems to intimate. They were met by the 
association called by him into being, and of which he was perpet- 
ual secretary, whose members were the Princes Liechtenstein, 



172 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Esterhazy, Scliwarzenberg, Auersperg, Kinsky, Trautmannsdorf, 
Sinsendorf, and the Counts Czernin, Harrach, Erdody and Fries; 
at wliose palaces as well as in van Swieten's house and sometimes 
in the great hall of the Imperial Royal Library the performances 
wore given at midday to an audience of invited guests. Fraulein 
Martinez, who holds so distinguished a place in Burney's account 
of his visit to Vienna — that pupil of Porpora at whose music-lessons 
the young Joseph Haydn forty years before had been employed 
as accompanist — still flourished in the Michael's House and gave 
a musical party every Saturday evening during the season. 

Court Councillor and Chamber Paymaster von Meyer (says Schon- 
fcld) is so excellent a lover of music that his entire personnel in the chan- 
cellary is musical, among them being such artists as a Raphael and a 
Hauschka. It will readily be understood, therefore, that here in the 
city as well as at his country-seat there are many concerts. His Majesty 
the Emperor himself has attended some of these concerts. 

These details are sufficient to illustrate and confirm the re- 
marks made above upon Vienna as the central point of instru- 
mental music. Of the great number of composers in that branch 
of the art whom Beethoven found there, a few of the more eminent 
must V)e named. 

Of course, Haydn stood at the head. The next in rank — 
longo intervallo — was Mozart's successor in the oflBce of Imperial 
Chamber Composer, Leopold Kozeluch, a Bohemian, now just 
forty years of age. Though now forgotten and, according to 
Beethoven, "miserabilis," he was renowned throughout Europe for 
his fjuartets and other chamber music. A man of less popular 
repute but of a solid genius and acquirements far beyond those of 
Kozeluch, whom Beethoven greatly respected and twenty-five 
years later called his "old master," was Emanuel Aloys Forster, a 
Silesian, now forty-five years of age. His quintets, quartets and 
the like ranked very high, but at that time were known for the 
most part only in manuscript. Anton Eberl, five years the senior 
of Beethoven, a Viennese by birth, had composed two operettas 
in the sixteenth year of his age which were produced at the Karnth- 
nertlior-Theater, one of which gained the young author the favor 
of Gluck. He seems to have been a favorite of Mozart and 
caught so much of the spirit and style of that master as to produce 
compositions which were printed by dishonest publishers under 
Mozart's name, and as his were sold throughout Europe. In 1776 
he accompanied the Widow Mozart and her sister, Madame Lange, 
the vocalist, in the tour through Germany, gaining that reputation 
in other cities which he enjoyed at home, both as pianist and 



Famous Composers in Vienna 173 

composer. His force was in instrumental composition, and we 
shall hereafter see him for a moment as a symphonist bearing 
aw^ay the palm from Beethoven ! 

Johann Vanhall, w^hose name was so well known in Paris and 
London that Biirney, twenty years before, sought him out in his 
garret in a suburb of Vienna, was as indefatigable as ever in pro- 
duction. Gerber says in his first Lexicon (1792) that Breitkopf 
and Hartel had then fifty of his symphonies in manuscript. His 
fecundity was equal to that of Haydn; his genius such that all his 
works are now forgotten. It is needless to continue this list. 

One other fact illustrating the musical tastes and accomplish- 
ments of the higher classes of the capital may be added. There 
were, during the winter 1792-93, ten private theatres with amateur 
companies in activity, of which the more important were in the 
residences of the nobles Stockhammer, Kinsky, Sinsendorf and 
Strassaldo, and of the bookseller Schrambl. Most of these com- 
panies produced operas and operettas. 



Chapter XIII 

Beethoven in Society— Concerts— Wegeler's Recollections- 
Compositions— The First Trios— Sonatas Dedicated to 
Haydn— Variations— Dances for the Ridotto Rooms- 
Plays at Haydn's Concert. 

HOWE\^R quiet and "without observation" Beethoven*s 
advent in Vienna may have been at that time when men's 
minds were occupied by movements of armies and ideas of 
revolution, he could hardly have gone thither under better auspices. 
He was Court Organist and Pianist to the Emperor's uncle; his 
talents in that field were well known to the many Austrians of rank 
who had heard him in Bonn when visiting there or when paying 
their respects to the Elector in passing to and from the Austrian 
Netherlands; he was a pupil of Joseph Haydn— a circumstance in 
itself sufficient to secure him a hearing; and he was protected by 
Count Waldstein, whose family connections were such that he could 
introduce his favorite into the highest circles, the imperial house 
only excepted. Waldstein's mother was a Liechtenstein; his grand- 
mother a Trautmannsdorf; three of his sisters had married re- 
spectively into the families Dietrichstein, Crugenburg and Wallis; 
and by the marriages of uncles and aunts he was connected 
with the great houses Oettingen-Spielberg, Khevenhuller-Melisch, 
Kinsky, Palfy von Erdod and Ulfeld — not to mention others less 
known. If the circle be extended by a degree or two it embraces 
the names Kaunitz, Lobkowitz, Kohary, Flinfkirchen, Keglevics 
and Colloredo-Mansfeld. 

Dr. Burney, in closing his "Present State of Music in Ger- 
many," notes the distinction rh the styles of composition and per- 
formance in some of the principal cities of that country, "Vienna 
being most remarkable for fire and animation; Mannheim for 
neat and brilliant execution; Berlin for counterpoint and Bruns- 
wick for taste." Since Burney's tour (1772) Vienna had the 
highest example of all these qualities united in Mozart. But he 
had passed away, and no great pianist of the first rank remained; 

[174] 



The Three Trios, Op. 1 175 

there were extraordinary dilettanti and professional pianists "of 
very neat and brilliant execution," but none who possessed great 
"fire, animation and invention," qualities still most valued in 
Vienna and in which the young Beethoven, with all the hardness 
and heaviness of manipulation caused by his devotion to the organ, 
was wholly unrivalled. With all the salons in the metropolis open 
to him, his success as a virtuoso was, therefore, certain. All the 
contemporary authorities, and all the traditions of those years, 
agree in the fact of that success, and that his playing of Bach's 
preludes and fugues especially, his reading of the most diflBcult 
scores at sight and his extemporaneous performances excited ever 
new wonder and delight. Schindler records that van Swieten, 
after musical performances at his house, "detained Beethoven and 
persuaded him to add a few fugues by Sebastian Bach as an evening 
blessing," and he preserves a note without date, though evidently 
belonging to Beethoven's first years in Vienna, which proves how 
high a place the young man had then won in the old gentleman's 
favor : 

To Mr. Beethoven in Alstergasse, No. 45, with the Prince Lichnow- 
sky: If there is nothing to hinder next Wednesday I should be glad to 
see you at my home at half past 8 with your nightcap in your bag. Give 
me an immediate answer. 

Swieten. 

There is also an entry in the oft-cited memorandum book 
belonging in date to October or November, 1793, which may be 
given in this connection: "Supped in the evening at Swieten's, 
17 pourboire. To the janitor 4 x for opening the door." 

But the instant and striking success of Beethoven as virtuoso 
by no means filled up the measure of his ambition. He aspired 
to the higher position of composer, and to obtain this more was 
needed than the performance of variations, however excellent. To 
this end he selected the three Trios afterwards pul)lished as Oj). 1, 
and brought them to performance at the house of Prince 
Lichnowsky. Ilapi)ily for us, Beethoven related some j)articiilar.s 
concerning this first performance of these com[)ositions in Vienna 
to his pupil Hies, who gives the substance of the story thus: 

It was planned to introduce the first tlirec Trios of H<'cthovcn, which 
were about to be published as ()[). 1, to the artistic world at a soin'e at 
prince Lichnowsky's. Most of tin- artists and music-lovers were invited, 
especially Haydn, for whose ojjinion all were eai,'cr. The Trios were 
played and at once commanded extraordiruiry attention. Haydn also 
said many pretty things about tlieni, but ;i(lvis«'(| lieeflioven not to [)ub- 
lish the third, in C minor. This astonished Beethoven, inasmuch as 



170 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

he considered the third the best of the Trios, as it is still the one which 
pives tlie jireatest i)leasure and makes the greatest effect. Consequently, 
Haytin's remark left a bad impression on Beethoven and led him to 
think that Haydn was envious, jealous and ill-disposed toward him. I 
confess that when Beethoven told me of this I gave it little credence. I 
therefore took occasion to ask Haydn himself about it. His answer, 
however, confirmed Beethoven's statement; he said he had not believed 
that this Trio would so quickly and easily be understood and so favor- 
ably received by the public. 

The FischofT manuscript says: 

The three Trios for pianoforte, violin and violoncello. Op. 1 (the 
pearls of all sonatas), which are in fact his sixth work, justly excited admir- 
ation, though they were performed in only a few circles. Wherever this 
was done, however, connoisseurs and music-lovers bestowed upon them 
undivided applause, which grew with the succeeding works as the hearers 
not only accustomed themselves to the striking and original qualities 
of the master but grasped his spirit and strove for the high privilege of 
understanding him. 

More than two years passed by, however, before the composer 
thought fit to send these Trios to the press; perhaps restrained 
by a feeling of modesty, since he was still a student, perhaps by a 
doubt as to the success of compositions so new in style, or by pru- 
dence, choosing to delay their publication until they had been so 
often performed from the manuscript as to secure their compre- 
hension and appreciation, and thus an adequate number of sub- 
scribers. In the meantime he prepared the way for them by 
publishing a few sets of variations. "Beethoven had composed 
variations on themes from Mozart's 'Zauberflote,' which he had 
already sketched in Bonn, and Zmeskall took it upon himself to 
submit them to a publisher; but they had only a small sale." 
(The Fischoff MS.) This refers doubtless to the Variations "Se 
vuol ballare" from "Le Nozze di Figaro," which, having been re- 
vised and improved by a new coda, came out in July, 1793, with 
a dedication to Eleonore von Breuning. It was not until the next 
year that the thirteen variations upon the theme "Es war einmal 
ein alter Mann," from Dittersdorf's "Rothkappchen," appeared, 
and these were followed by those for four hands on the Waldstein 
theme, first advertised in January, 1795. 

In fact, Beethoven evidently was in no haste to publish his 
compositions. It will presently be seen that he sent the "Se vuol 
ballare" variations to press partly at the request of others and 
partly to entrap the rival pianists of Vienna. A few years later 
we shall find him dashing off and immediately publishing varia- 
tions on popular theatrical melodies; but works of greater scope, 



Beethoven Sues for Pardon 177 

and especially his pianoforte concertos, were for the most part 
long retained in his exclusive possession. Thus the Pianoforte 
Concerto in B-flat major. Op. 18, though supposed by Tomaschek 
to have been composed at Prague in 1798, certainly (if Beethoven's 
own words in a letter to Breitkopf and Hartel are to be believed) 
preceded in composition thatin C major. Op. 15, and must, therefore, 
have been finished at the latest in March, 1795, and was doubtless 
often played by him at private concerts during the period now 
before us. It was not published until 1801. 

Let the reader now recall to mind some of the points pre- 
viously dwelt upon: the Fischenich letter of January and Neefe's 
letter of October, 1793, which record the favorable reports sent 
to Bonn of Beethoven's musical progress; his studies with Haydn 
and Schenk; the cares and perplexities caused him temporarily 
by the death of his father, and the unpleasant circumstances 
attending that event; his steady success as a virtuoso; his visit 
in the summer to Prince Esterhazy; and it is obvious with what 
industry and energy he engaged in his new career, with what zeal 
and unfaltering activity he labored to make the most of his 
opportunities. In one year after leaving Bonn he felt his success 
secure, and no longer feared Hamlet's "slings and arrows of out- 
rageous fortune." This is indicated in a passage ("O, how we 
shall then rejoice together, "etc.) of the earliest of his Vienna letters 
which has been preserved — that letter in which, as Wegeler re- 
marks, "he asked pardon for much more error than he had com- 
mitted," and which, though often reprinted from the "Notizen," 
is too important and characteristic to be here omitted. 

Vienna, November 2, 93. 

Most estimable Leonore! 

My most precious friend! 

Not until I have lived almost a year in the capital do you 
receive a letter from me, and yet you were most assuredly pc'rjxhiiilly 
in ray liveliest memory. Often in thou<^ht I have conversed with you 
and your dear family, thouj^h not with that peace of mind which I could 
have desired. It was then that the wrctciied misundcrstandinf; ho\cred 
before me and my conduct presented itself as most despicable. IJutit 
was too late. O, what would I not give could I o))Hterale from my life 
those actions so degrading to myself and so contrary to my character. 
True, there were many circumstances which tciuK'd to estrange us, and I 
suspect that tales whispered in our ears of remarks made one about the 
other were chiefly that which prevented us from coming to an und<'r- 
standing. We both believed that we were speaking from conviction; 
whereas it was only in anger, and we were both deceived. Your good 
and noble character, my dear friend, is sufficient assurance to me that 
you forgave me long ago. But we are told that the sincerest contrition 



178 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

consists in acknowledgment of our faults; and to do this has been my 
desire. And now let us drop the curtain on the affair, only drawing 
from it this lesson — that when friends quarrel it is much better to have 
it out face to face than to turn to a go-between. 

With this you will receive a dedication from me to you concerning 
which I only wish that the work were a larger one and more worthy of 
you. I was plagued here to publish the little work, and I took advantage 
of the opportunity, my estimable E., to show my respect and friendship 
for you and my enduring memory of your family. Take this trifle and 
remember that it comes from a friend who respects you greatly. Oh, 
if it but gives you pleasure, my wishes will be completely fulfilled. Let 
it be a reminder of the time when I spent so many and such blessed hours 
at your home. Perhaps it will keep me in your recollection until I 
eventually return to you, which, it is true, is not likely to be soon. But 
how we shall rejoice then, my dear friend — you will then find in your 
friend a happier man, from whose visage time and a kindlier fate shall 
have smoothed out all the furrows of a hateful past. 

If you should chance to see B. Koch, please say to her that it is 
not nice of her never once to have written to me. I wrote to her twice 
and three times to Malchus, but no answer. Say to her that if she doesn't 
want to write she might at least urge Malchus to do so. In conclusion 
I venture a request; it is this: I should like once again to be so happy 
as to own a waistcoat knit of hare's wool by your hands, my dear friend. 
Pardon the immodest request, my dear friend, but it proceeds from a 
great predilection for everything that comes from your hands. Privately 
I may also acknowledge that a little vanity is also involved in the re- 
quest; I want to be able to say that I have something that was given 
me by the best and most estimable girl in Bonn. I still have the 
waistcoat which you were good enough to give me in Bonn, but it has 
grown so out of fashion that I can only treasure it in my wardrobe as 
something very precious because it came from you. You would give 
me much pleasure if you were soon to rejoice me with a dear letter from 
yourself. If my letters should in any way please you I promise in this 
to be at your command so far as lies in my power, as everything is welcome 
to me which enables me to show how truly I am 
Your admiring, 
true friend 

L. V. Beethoven. 

P.S. The V. [variations] you will find a little difficult to play, 
especially the trills in the coda; but don't let that alarm you. It is 
so contrived that you need play only the trill, leaving out the other 
notes because they are also in the violin part. I never would have com- 
posed a thing of the kind had I not often observed that here and there in 
\ lenna there was somebody who, after I had improvised of an evening, 
noted down many of my peculiarities, and made parade of them next day 
as his own. Foreseeing that some of these things would soon appear in 
pnnt, I resolved to anticipate them. Another reason that I had was to 
embarrass the local pianoforte masters. Many of them are my deadly 
enemies and I wanted to revenge myself on them, knowing that once 
m a while somebody would ask them to play the variations and they 
would make a sorry show with them. 



Dr. Wegeler*s Reminiscences 179 

Except Beethoven's memorandum, "Schuppanzigh 3 times 
each W.; Albrechtsberger 3 times each W.", which indicates his 
change of instructors, there is nothing to be recorded until, prob- 
ably in May or June (1794), we come to the fragment of another 
letter to Eleonore von Breuning also contained in Wegeler's 
"Notizen" (p. 60), which has particular interest both as showing 
how bitterly his conscience reproached him for acts inconsistent 
with the forbearance and command of temper due to friendship, 
but in which he ever remained too apt to indulge, and as adding 
some implied confirmation of the argument previously made in 
relation to the compositions of the Bonn period. In this letter 
he acknowledges receipt of a cravat embroidered by Eleonore and 
protests that thoughts of her generosity and his unworthiness had 
brought him to tears. He continues: "Do pray believe me that 
little as I have deserved it, my friend (let me always call you such), 
I have suffered much and still suffer from the loss of vour friend- 
ship. ... As a slight return for your kind recollection of me 
I take the liberty of sending these Variations and the Rondo with 
violin (accompaniment). I have a great deal to do or I should 
have transcribed the Sonata I promised you long ago. It is a 
mere sketch in manuscript, and to copy it would be a diflScult, 
etc." The letter is signed: "The friend who still reveres you, 
Beethowen" {sic)^ 

In January, 1794, Elector Max had paid a short visit to Vienna, 
where, perhaps, it was determined that Beethoven should remain 
"without salary until recalled." After the declaration of war 
by the Empire against France, the electorate, as a Gerniiin state, 
could no longer remain neutral; and thus it came to pass that in 
October the victorious French army marched into Bonn. Tlie 
Elector fled to Frankfort-on-the-Main, November 6th, thence to 
Miinster, while his court and all such as were obnoxious to the 
republican authorities dispersed in all directions for safety. 

One of these fugitives, a young man of twenty-nine years 
but already the Rector of the University, to "save his head" 
hastened away to Vienna — Dr. Wegeler. He reached that capital 

•Though Thayer fixed the date of this letter in May or June. I7!)t. Dr. Deiters 
believed that it was of a much earlier date; and may, indeed, have been written before 
Beethoven went to Vienna. For his theory Dr. Deiters found a plausible argument in 
the spelling of the namt! with a "w" in stea<l of a" v," and th(? reiterated references to a mis- 
understanding wliich had long been made right. The letter has no «late or superscrip- 
tion and Wegeler assumed tliat it was the continuation of one whose first i)age had 
been lost. If the letter was written in IJonn it would prove that the Hondo (probably 
that in G for Pianoforte and Violin, H. and H. Series XII, No. 10!^) was compose.l 
before the beginning of the Viennese period; which might well be. The Sonata is prob- 
ably the unfinished one in C, dedicated to Eleonore von Breuning. 



ISO The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

in October and found Beethoven not in the "room on the ground 
floor" where "it was not necessary to pay the housekeeper more 
than 7 florins," but living as a guest in the family of Prince Karl 
Liclmowsky; and this explains sufficiently the cessation of those 
records of monthly payments before noticed. 

Tlie reminiscences of Wegeler for the period of his stay in 
Vienna, excepting those which may be better introduced chronolo- 
gically in other connections, may well find place here. They are 
interesting and characteristic in themselves and indicate, also, 
the great change for the better in Beethoven's pecuniary condition; 
for a man who keeps a servant and a horse cannot, if honest, be 
a sutferer from poverty: 

Carl, Prince of Lichnowsky, Count Werdenberg, Dynast Granson, 
was a very great patron, yes, a friend of Beethoven's, who took him 
into his house as a guest, where he remained at least a few years. I 
found him there toward the end of the year 1794, and left him there in 
the middle of 1796. Meanwhile, however, Beethoven had almost always 
a home in the country. 

The Prince was a great lover and connoisseur of music. He played 
the pianoforte, and by studying Beethoven's pieces and playing them 
more or less well, sought to convince him that there was no need of 
changing anything in his style of composition, though the composer's 
attention was often called to the difficulties of his works. There were 
performances at his house every Friday morning, participated in by 
four hired musicians — Schuppanzigh, Weiss, Kraft and another (Link.?), 
besides our friend; generally also an amateur, Zmeskall. Beethoven 
always listened with pleasure to the observations of these gentlemen. 
Thus, to cite a single instance, the famous violoncellist Kraft in my pres- 
ence called his attention to a passage in the finale of the Trio, Op. 1, 
Xo. 3, to the fact that it ought to be marked "sulla corda G," and the 
indication 4-4 time which Beethoven had marked in the finale of the 
second Trio, changed to 2-4. Here the new compositions of Beethoven, 
so far as was feasible, were first performed. Here there were generally 
present several great musicians and music-lovers. I, too, as long as I 
lived in Vienna, was present, if not every time, at least most of the time. 

Here a Hungarian count once placed a difficult composition by Bach 
in manuscript before him which he played a vista exactly as Bach would 
have played it, according to the testimony of the owner. Here the 
Viennese author Forster once brought him a quartet of which he had 
made a clean copy only that morning. In the second portion of the 
first movement the violoncello got out. Beethoven stood up, and still 
playing his own part sang the bass accompaniment. When I spoke 
about it to him as a proof of extraordinary acquirements, he replied 
with a smile: "The bass part had to be so, else the author would have 
known nothing about composition." To the remark that he had played 
a -preato which he had never seen before so rapidly that it must have been 
impossible to see the individual notes, he answered: "Nor is that neces- 
sary; if you read rapidly there may be a multitude of typographical 



Confession, Contrition, Petition 181 

errors, but you neither see nor give heed to them, so long as the language 
is a familiar one." 

After the concert the musicians generally stayed to dine. Here 
there gathered, in addition, artists and savants without regard to social 
position. The Princess Christiane was the highly cultivated daughter 
of Count Franz Joseph von Thun, who, a very philanthropic and respect- 
able gentleman, was disposed to extravagant enthusiasm by his inter- 
course with Lavater, and believed himself capable of healing diseases 
through the power of his right hand. 

The following undated letter also belongs to the years of 
Beethoven's intimate association with Wegeler in Vienna (1794-96). 
It is significant of Beethoven's character. Though easily offended 
and prone to anger, no sooner w^as the first ebullition of temper 
past than he was so reconciliatory and open to explanation that 
usually his contrition was out of all proportion to his fault. For 
this reason, and because it presents the friend in a light which pro- 
voked a protest from his modesty, Wegeler was unwilling to make 
public the entire letter.^ 

Dearest! Best! In what an odious light you have exhibited me to 
myself! I acknowledge it, I do not deserve your friendship. You are 
so noble, so considerate, and the first time that I ranged myself along- 
side of you I fell so far below you! Ah, for weeks I have displeased 
my best and noblest friend! You think that I have lost some of my 
goodness of heart, but, thank Heaven! it was no intentional or deliberate 
malice which induced me to act as I did towards you; it was my inex- 
cusable thoughtlessness which did not })ermit me to see the matter in 
its true light. O, how ashamed I am, not only for your sake but also 
my own. I can scarcely trust myself to ask for your friendship again. 
Oh, Wegeler, my only comfort lies in this, that you have known me almost 
from my childhood, and yet, O let me say for myself, I was always good, 
and always strove to be uf>right and true in my actions — otherwise how 
could you have loved me? Could I have cliangod so fearfully for the 
worse in such a short time? Impossible; these feelings of goodness and 
love of righteousness cannot have died forever in me in a moment. No, 
Wegeler, dearest, best, O, venture again to throw yourself entirely into 
the arms of your B.; trust in the good cpialities you us<>(l to find in him; 
I will guarantee that the i)Ur(; temple of sacred friendship which you 
erect shall remain firm forever; no accident, no storm sliall ever shake 
its foundations — firm — forever — our frienflstn'i) — pardon — oblivion — a 
new ui)fianiing of the dying, sinking friendship — (), Wegel(T, do not 
reject this hand of reconeiliation. Place yours in mine — O, God! — but 
no more; I am coming to throw myself in your arms, to entreat you 
to restore to me my lost friend. And you will give yourself to me, 
your penitent, loving, never-forgetting Beethoven again. 

It was only now that I received your letter, because I have just 
returned home. 

'This was done by Wegcler's grandson, Carl Wcgclcr, in an essay put^lishcd in 
the "Coblenz Zeitung" on May 20. 1890. 



18'2 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

In tliis connection Wegeler comes to speak of the outward 
conditions of Beethoven: "Beethoven," he says on page 33, 

brought up under extremely restricted circumstances, and as it were, 
under guardianship, though that of his friends, did not know the 
vahie of money and was anything but economical. Thus, to cite a 
single instance, the Prince's dinner hour was fixed at 4 o'clock. "Now," 
said Beethoven, "it is desired that every day I shall be at home at half- 
past 3, put on better clothes, care for my beard, etc. — I can't stand that !" 
So it happened that he frequently went to the taverns, since, as has been 
said, in this as in all other matters of economy, he knew nothing about 
the value of things or of money. The Prince, Wegeler continues, who 
had a loud, metallic voice, once directed his serving-man that if ever 
he and Beethoven should ring at the same time the latter was to be first 
served. Beethoven heard this, and the same day engaged a servant for 
himself. In the same manner, once when he took a whim to learn to 
ride, which speedily left him, the stable of the Prince being oflFered him, 
he bought a horse. 

Concerning his friend's affairs of the heart, Wegeler had oppor- 
tunity to make observations in Vienna. He relates on page 43 
that while he was in the capital Beethoven "was always in love 
and made many conquests which would have been difficult if not 
impossible for many an Adonis." Beethoven's antipathy to 
teaching before he left Bonn has already been noticed. In Vienna 
he developed a still stronger repugnance to playing in society when 
requested to do so. He often complained to Wegeler how griev- 
ously this put him out of sorts, whereupon the latter sought to 
entertain him and quiet him by conversation. "When this pur- 
pose was reached," he continues, 

I dropped the conversation, seated myself at the writing table, and 
Beethoven, if he wanted to continue the discourse, had to sit down on 
the chair before the pianoforte. Soon, still turned away from the instru- 
ment, he aimlessly struck a few chords out of which gradually grew 
the most beautiful melodies. Oh, why did I not understand more of 
music! Several times I put ruled paper upon the desk as if without 
intention, in order to get a manuscript of his; he wrote upon it but then 
folded it up and put it in his pocket! Concerning his playing I was 
permitted to say but little, and that only in passing. He would then 
go away entirely changed in mood and always come back again gladly. 
The antii)athy remained, however, and was frequently the cause of 
differences between Beethoven and his friends and well-wishers. 

There is still one other reminiscence of Wegeler in the appendix 
to the "Xotizen" (page 9) worthy of citation. "At one time pri- 
vate lectures were given in Vienna on Kant, which had been 
arranged by Adam Schmidt, Wilhelm Schmidt, Hunczovsky, Gop- 
fert and others. In spite of my urgings Beethoven refused to 



Old Bonn Friends Remembered 183 

attend a single one of them." There is no reference in Wegeler's 
"Notizen" to instruction received by Beethoven from Albrechts- 
berger. With his old colleague in the Court Orchestra in Bonn, 
Nicolaus Simrock, though he was a much older man, Beethoven 
remained in touch after his removal to Vienna. Simrock, who was 
highly esteemed both as man and musician, had embarked in 
business as a music publisher in Bonn. The Variations on a theme 
from Dittersdorf's "Rothkappchen," were published by him (at 
the latest in the early part of 1794), as well as those for pianoforte 
four hands on a theme by Count Waldstein (some time in the same 
year) . It is to the latter composition that the following letter refers : 

Vienna, August 2, 1794. 

Dear Simrock : 

I deserve a little scolding from you for holding back your 
Variations so long, but, indeed, I do not lie when I say that I was hindered 
from correcting them sooner by an overwhelming amount of business. 
You will note the shortcomings for yourself, but I must wish you joy on 
the appearance of your engraving, which is beautiful, clear and legible. 
Verily, if you keep on thus you will become chief among cutters, that 
is, note cutters ^ In my former letter I promised to send you some- 
thing of mine and you interpreted the remark as being in the language 
of the cavaliers. How have I deserved such a title? Faugh! who would 
indulge in such language in these democratic days of ours? To free 
myself from the imputation as soon as I have finished the grand revision 
of my compositions, which will be soon, you shall have something which 
you will surely engrave. I have also been looking about me for a com- 
missioner and have found a right capable young fellow for the place. 
His name is Traeg. You have naught to do but to write to him or 
me about the conditions which you want to make. He asks of you one- 
third rabate. The devil take all such bargaining! It is very hot here. 
The Viennese fear that they will soon be unable to eat ice-cream, there 
having been little cold last winter and ice being scarce. Many persons 
of importance have come here and it was said that a revolution was im- 
minent; but it is my belief that so long as the Austrian has his dark 
beer and sausage he will not revolt. It is said that the suburban gates 
are to be closed at ten o'clock at night. The soldiers' guns arc loaded 
with bullets. No one dares speak aloud for fear of arrest by tiic j)()lice. 
Are your daughters ^rown? liriu^ one uj) to be my wife, for if I am to 
remain single in Bonn I siiall not slay loiij^, of a surety. You also nnist 
be living in fear. How is good Ries? I shall write to him soon for he 
can have only an unfavorable oj)inion of mc — but this damned wrifinj^l 
I cannot get over my antipathy towards it. Have you performed my 
piece yet.'' Write to mc occasionally. 

Please send also a few copies of the first Variations. 

Your 

Beethoven. 

'An early example f)f Hccthoven's fondness for piinnin;;. Strehrn means many 
things in German — among them to sting, stab, tilt in a tovirnament, take a trick at 
cards — as well as to engrave, or cut in metal. 



184 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

These "first Variations" obviously are those on the theme from 
"Rothkappchen"; those referred to in the early part of the letter 
tlie onos on Count Waldstein's theme. The "piece" whose per- 
fornuince he inquires about is the Octet, and the allusion to it 
justifies the belief that it was composed for the wind-instrument 
players of Bonn who found no opportunity to play it while Beet- 
hoven was still in his native city. The letter, like that written 
to Eleonore von Breuning, shows that Beethoven was still think- 
ing of the possibility or probability of a return to Bonn. Its 
cheerful tone discloses a comfortable, satisfied frame of mind — 
the mood from which the first Trios proceeded. 

AVe return to the chronological record of events. The first 
of these in the year 1795, was Beethoven's first appearance in pub- 
lic as virtuoso and composer. The annual concerts in the Burg- 
theater established by Gassmann for the benefit of the widows of 
the Tonkiinstlergesellschaft were announced for the evenings of 
March 29 and 30. The vocal work selected for performance was 
an oratorio in two parts, "Gioas, Re di Giuda," by Antonio Car- 
tellieri; the instrumental, a Concerto for Pianoforte and Orchestra, 
composed and played by Ludwig van Beethoven. Cartellieri was 
a young man of twenty-three years (born in Danzig, September 
27, 1772) who, a year or two since, had come from Berlin to study 
operatic composition with the then greatest living composer in 
that field, Salieri. As the direction of these Widow and Orphan 
concerts was almost exclusively in the hands of Salieri, one is 
almost tempted to think that he may on this occasion have in- 
dulged a pardonable vanity in bringing forward two of his pupils, 
if we did not know how strong an attraction the name of Beet- 
hoven must have been for the public which, as yet, had had no 
opportunity to learn his great powers except by report. The day 
of the performance drew near but the Concerto was not yet written 
out. "Not until the afternoon of the second day before the con- 
cert did he write the rondo, and then while suffering from a pretty 
severe colic which frequently aflflicted him. I [Wegeler] relieved 
him with simple remedies so far as I could. In the anteroom sat 
four copyists to whom he handed sheet after sheet as soon as it 
was finished. ... At the first rehearsal, which took place the 
next day in Beethoven's room, the pianoforte was found to be 
half a tone lower than the wind-instruments. Without a moment's 
delay Beethoven had the wind-instruments and the others tune 
to B-flat instead of A and played his part in C-sharp." Thus 
Wegeler in his "Notizen" (pg. 36). But he has confounded two 
compositions. The concerto which Beethoven played on March 



First Concert Appil\r.\nces in Vienna 185 

29, 1795, was not that in C (Op. 15) which was not yet finished, 
but, in all probability, that in B-flat (Op. 19). For the fact that 
the Concerto in B-flat was composed before that in C we have the 
testimony of Beethoven himself, who wrote to Breitkopf and Hartel 
on April 22, 1801 : "I simply want to call your attention to the fact 
that one of my first Concertos will be published by Hoff meister, 
which is not among my best works, and one also by Mollo which, 
though composed later, etc." The Concerto in B-flat was pub- 
lished in 1801 by Hoffmeister and that in C in the same year by 
Mollo and Co. in Vienna, the latter a little in advance of the former, 
wherefore there need be no surprise at the earlier opus number. 

Beethoven also took part in the second concert on March 30, 
the minutes of the Tonkiinstlerschaft recording tJiat he "impro- 
vised on the pianoforte"; and though busily engaged he also em- 
braced an opportunity to testify to his devotion to the manes of 
Mozart. On March 31, 1795, Mozart's widow arranged a per- 
formance of "La Clemenza di Tito" in the Burgtheater. "After 
the first part," says the advertisement, "Mr. Ludwig van Beet- 
hoven will play a Concerto of Mozart's composition on the Piano- 
forte." We opine that this concerto was Mozart's in D minor, 
which Beethoven loved especially and for which he wrote cadenzas. 

The Trios, Op. 1, had now become so well known and appre- 
ciated in musical circles as to justify their publication, and accord- 
ingly, an advertisement inviting subscriptions for Ludwig van Beet- 
hoven's "three Grand Trios" appeared in the "Wiener Zoitung" 
on May 16, 1795. Three days later a contract was signed by the 
author and Artaria and Company. The printed list of subscribers 
gives 123 names, mostly belonging to the higher circles, with sub- 
scriptions amounting to 241 copies. As Beethoven paid the i)ub- 
lisher but one florin per copy, and the subscrijition ])rice was one 
ducat, he made a handsome profit out of the transaction.' 

We must tarry a moment longer with these Trios. That the 
author is disposed to place th(>ir origin in the Bonn period has 
already ap[)ear('d. Argument in favor of this view can be iound 
in the fact of tJieir early performance in Vienna, for tJiere can be 
no reasonable question of the correctness of Rics's story, for which 
Beethoven himself was authority, that they were played at the 
house of Prince Lichnowsky, in the presence of Haydn. This per- 
formance must have taken place before January 19, 1791', because 
on that day Haydn started again for England. Now, Beethoven's 
sketches show that he was still working on at least the second and 

'Thf son of Artaria told Nolil tliat his fatlirr li.-ul lol.i him Ihnt ho >?ot the money 
to pay Beethoven without the composer's knowledge from I'rince Liehnowsky. 



186 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

tliird of the Trios after 1794, and that they were not ready for 
tlie printer before the end of that year. Further explanation is 
otfered by the following little circumstances: since Haydn was 
present, the performance at Prince Lichnowsky's must have been 
from manuscript. In the morning meeting which probably took 
place only a short time before the soiree, Beethoven's attention 
was called to the desirability of changing in the last movement of 
the second Trio, the time-signature from 4-4 to 2-4. Beethoven 
made the change. From these facts it may be concluded that 
after a first there was a final revision of these Trios and that the 
former version disappeared or was destroyed after the latter was 
made. It has repeatedly been intimated that the author believes 
that the rewriting of compositions completed in Beethoven's early 
period is farther-reaching than is generally assumed. The case 
therefore seems to present itself as follows: Haydn heard the Trios 
at Lichnowsky's in their first state; Beethoven then took them up 
for revision and in the course of 1794 and the beginning of 1795 
brought them to the state in which we know them. It is not 
possible to say positively whether or not the first form, particu- 
larly of the first Trio, dates back to the Bonn period. 

An interesting anecdote connected with these Trios may well 
find place here; it is contributed by Madame Mary de Fouche, 
daughter of Tomkison, who, in the seventh decade of the nine- 
teenth century, was one of the more famous pianoforte manufac- 
turers of London: In the early days of the century, a little society 
of musicians — J. B. Cramer, the pianist; F. Cramer, violinist, half- 
brother of the preceding; J. P. Salomon, whose name has so often 
come up in previous chapters of this work; Bridgetower, a 
mulatto and celebrated violinist, whose name we shall meet again; 
Watts, tenor; Morant, also tenor, who married the great Dussek's 
widow; Dahmen, Lindley and Crossdale, violoncellists — was in the 
habit of meeting regularly at Mr. Tomkison's to try over and 
criticise such new music of the German school as came to the London 
dealers. At one of these meetings the new Trios of Beethoven, 
Op. 1, were played through, J. B. Cramer at the pianoforte. "This 
is the man," he cried, "who is to console us for the loss of Mozart!" 
According to the recollection of Cipriani Potter, this was after 
Cramer had made the personal acquaintance of Beethoven in 
Vienna, and had heard him play there. 

Some other incidents recorded by Wegeler belong to this year. 
Haydn reached Vienna upon his return from his second visit to 
England on August 20. Beethoven had now ready the three 
Sonatas, Op. 2, and at one of the Friday morning concerts at 



First Pianoforte Trios and Sonatas 187 

Prince Lichnowsky's he played them to Haydn, to whom they were 
dedicated. 

Here (says Wegeler on page 29 of the 'Notizen'), Count Appony 
asked Beethoven to compose a quartet for him for a given compensation, 
Beethoven not yet having written a piece in this genre. The Count 
declared that contrary to custom he did not want to have exclusive 
possession of the quartet for half a year before publication, nor did he 
ask that it be dedicated to him, etc. In response to repeated urgings 
by me, Beethoven twice set about the task, but the first effort resulted 
in a grand violin Trio (Op. 3), the second in a violin Quintet (Op. 4). 

How much mistaken Wegeler was in these concluding state- 
ments has already been indicated. 

The three Pianoforte Sonatas dedicated to Haydn were, there- 
fore, the second group of compositions which Beethoven considered 
illustrative of his artistic ideals and worthy of publication. Noth- 
ing can be said with positiveness touching the time of their origin. 
Schonfeld's words in his "Jahrbuch der Tonkunst von Wien und 
Prag": "We already have several of his Sonatas, among which his 
last are particularly noteworthy," which were written at least eight 
months before the Sonatas appeared in print, lead to the conclusion 
that the Sonatas were known in Vienna in manuscript in the spring 
of 1795. Their appearance in print was announced in the "Wiener 
Zeitung" of March 9, 1796. 

Still another anecdote recorded by Wegeler refers to another 
composition of this period: "Beethoven was seated in a box at 
the opera with a lady of whom he thought much at a performance 
of *La Molinara.' AVhen the familiar Nel cor j)iil non mi scnto was 
reached the lady remarked that she had possessed some variations 
on the theme but had lost them. In the same night Beethoven 
wrote the six variations on the melody and the next morning sent 
them to the lady with the inscription: Variazioni^ etc., Perdute par 
la — ritrovate par Luigi van Beethoren. Tliey are so easy that if is 
likely Beethoven wished that she should be able to play tliciii at 
sight." Paisieilo's "La Molinara," composed in 1788 for Na|)Ics, 
was performed on March 8, 1794 in the Court Opera, and again on 
June 24 and 27, 1795, in the K;irntJmerthor-Theater in Vienna. 
Considering the time of the i)ul)]ieation of these unpretentious but 
genial little variations, their composition may be set down afler 
the latter performances. At the same period 15eetlioven wrote 
variations on another theme {Quant' d piit hello) from the same 
opera, which were published l)eforc the former and d<'(lieale(i to 
Prince Carl Lielinowsky. It is likely tliat a few more sets of 
variations, a form of composition for whicii Bcctlioven had a 



188 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

strons? predilection at the time, had their origin in these early years 
of Beethoven's life in Vienna. The Variations in C on the "Menuet 
a la Vigano" from the ballet "Le Nozze disturbate," may con- 
fidently be assigned to the year 1795. The ballet was performed 
for the first time on May 18, 1795, at Schikaneder's theatre; the 
Variations are advertised as published on February 27, 1796. 

The Gesellschaf t der bildenden Kunstler had, in the year 1792, 
established an annual ball in the Redoutensaal in the month of 
November; and Haydn, just then returned covered with glory 
from England, composed a set of twelve minuets and twelve Ger- 
man dances for the occasion. In 1793, the Royal Imperial Com- 
poser Kozeluch followed Haydn's example. In 1794, Dittersdorf 
wrote the same number of like dances for the large hall, and Eybler 
for the small. In view of this array of great names, and consider- 
ing that as yet the Trios, Op. 1, were the only works of a higher 
order than the Variations which Beethoven had sent to press, the 
advertisements for the annual ball to be given upon the 22nd of 
November, 1795, give a vivid proof of the high reputation which 
the young man had gained as a composer now at the end of his 
third year in Vienna. These advertisements conclude thus: "The 
music for the Minuets and German dances for this ball is an en- 
tirely new arrangement. For the larger room they were written 
by the Royal Imperial Chapelmaster Siissmayr; for the smaller 
room by the master hand of Mr. Ludwig van Beethoven out of 
love for the artistic fraternity." These dances, arranged for piano- 
forte by Beetlioven himself, came from the press of Artaria a few 
weeks later, as did also Siissmayr's; Beethoven's name in the 
advertisement being in large and conspicuous type. 

As the year began with the first, so it closed with Beethoven's 
second appearance in public as composer and virtuoso; and here 
is the advertisement of the performance from the "Wiener 
Zeitung" of December 16: 

Next Friday, the 18th instant, Mr. the Chapelmaster Haydn will 
give a grand musical concert in the small Redoutensaal, at which Mad. 
Tomeoni and Mr. Mombelli will sing. Mr. van Beethoven will play a 
Concerto of his composing on the Pianoforte, and three grand symphonies, 
not yet heard here, which the Chapelmaster composed during his last 
sojourn in London, will be performed. 

One would gladly know what concerto was played. ^ But 
there was little public criticism then outside of London and very 

'It was probably that in B-flat. See Nottebohm's "Zweite Beethoveniana," 
page 72. 



Beethoven Pays Tribute to Haydn 189 

rarely any in Vienna. The mere fact of the appearance of Beet- 
hoven at his old master's concert is, however, another proof that 
too much stress has been laid upon a hasty word spoken by him 
to Ries. Haydn wanted that Beethoven should put "Pupil of 
Haydn" on the title-page of his first works. Beethoven was un- 
willing to do so because, as he said, "though he had taken some 
lessons from Haydn he had never learned anything from him." 
Nothing could be more natural than for Haydn, knowing nothing 
of the studies of his pupil with Schenk, to express such a wish in 
relation to the Sonatas dedicated to him, and equally natural that 
the author should refuse; but to add to the attractions of the con- 
cert was a very different matter — a graceful and delicate compli- 
ment which he could with pleasure make. 

This chapter may appropriately close with the one important 
family event of this year. The father, the mother, two infant 
brothers and two infant sisters slept in the churchyard at Bonn; 
but Ludwig, Caspar and Johann were never more to look upon 
their graves. The three brothers were now reunited. Vienna had 
become their new home and not one of them beheld the rushing 
Rhine again. 



Chapter XIV 



The Years 1796 and 1797 — Beethoven in Prague and Berlin 
— King Frederick William II and Prince Louis Ferdinand 
— Himmel, Fasch and Zelter — Compositions and Pub- 
lications. 

THE narrative resumes its course with the year 1796, the 
twenty-sixth of Beethoven's life and his fourth in Vienna. 
If not yet officially, he was de facto discharged from his 
obligations to the Elector Maximilian and all his relations with 
Bonn and its people were broken off. Vienna had become his 
home, and there is no reason to suppose that he ever afterwards 
cherished any real and settled purpose to exchange it for another — 
not even in 1809 when, for the moment, he had some thought of 
accepting Jerome Bonaparte's invitation to Cassel. 

He had now entered his course of contrapuntal study with 
Albrechtsberger; he was first of the pianoforte players of the cap- 
ital and his name added attraction even to the concert which 
Haydn, returning again from his London triumphs, had given to 
introduce some of his new works to the Viennese; his "master- 
hand" was already publicly recognized in the field of musical com- 
position; he counted many nobles of the higher ranks in his list 
of personal friends and had been, perhaps even now was, a member 
of Prince Carl Lichnowsky's family. The change in his pecuniary 
condition might have thrown a more equitable temperament than 
his off its balance. Three years ago he anxiously noted down the 
few kreutzers occasionally spent for coffee or chocolate "fiir Haidn 
und mich" ; now he keeps his own servant and a horse. His broth- 
ers, if at all a burden, were no longer a heavy one. Carl Caspar, 
according to the best information now obtainable, soon gained 
moderate success in the musical profession and, with probably 
some occasional aid from Ludwig both pecuniary and in obtaining 
pupils, earned sufficient for his comfortable support; while Johann 
had secured a situation in that apothecary shop "Zum Heiligen 
Geist" which, in 1860, was still to be seen in the Karnthnerstrasse 

[190] 



Meeting of Friends in Nuremberg 191 

near the former site of the gate of that name.^ His wages were, 
of course, small and we shall soon see that Ludwig offers him assist- 
ance if needed, though not to Karl ; but Johann's position gradually 
improved and he was able in a few years to save enough to enable 
him, unaided by his brother, to purchase and establish himself in a 
business of his own.^ 

"Fate had become propitious to Beethoven"; and a final cita- 
tion from the memorandum book will show in what spirit he was 
determined to merit the continuance of Fortune's favor. If we 
make allowance for the old error as to his real age, this citation may 
belong to a period a year or two later; but may it not be one of 
those extracts from books and periodical publications which all his 
life long he was so fond of making? This seems to be the more 
probable supposition. The words are these: "Courage! In spite 
of all bodily weaknesses my spirit shall rule. You have lived 25 
years. This year must determine the complete man. Nothing 
must remain undone." 

And now let the chronological narrative of events be resumed. 
As the year 1795 had ended with a public appearance of Beethoven 
as pianoforte player and composer, so also began the year 1796; 
and, as on a former occasion in a concert by Haydn, so this time 
he played at a concert given by a singer, Signora Bolla, who 
afterward became famous, in the Redoutensaal. Again he played 
a pianoforte concerto. 

"In 1796," says Wegeler ("Nachtrage," p. 18), "the two older 
Breuning brothers, Christoph and Stephan, find him (Beethoven) at 
Nuremberg on a return journey to Vienna. Which journey is not 
specified. None of the three having a passport from Vienna they 
were all detained at Linz, but soon liberated through my interven- 
tion at Vienna." And from a letter written by Stephan von Breu- 
ning to his mother, dated January, 1796, Wegeler quotes: "From 
Nuremberg, Beethoven travelled all the way in company with us. 
The three Bonnians tlius attracted the attention of the j)()lice, who 
thought they Iiad made a wonderful discovery. I do not believe 
that there could be a less dangerous man than Beethoven." Wege- 
ler 's suggestion that Beethoven was returning "perhaps from 
Berlin" is of course out of the question. But between the date 
of Haydn's concert (December 18th) and Stephan von Breuning's 
letter, if written towards the end of January, there was ample time, 
even in those days of post-coaches, for a journey to Prague and 

'It is now No. 16 of the extended Operngasse. 

'Czerny described Beethoven's brothers to Otto Jahn as follows: 'Tarl: small of 
stature, red-haired, ugly; Johann: large, dark, a handsome man and complete dandy." 



lO-i The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

thoiioe across the country to Mergentheim or Ellingen, at that time 
tlie toinporary residences of Elector Maximilian. The necessity of 
BeetJioven's knowing precisely in what relation he was to stand 
with the Elector in the future, accounts sufficiently for his being 
in Nuremberg at that time, especially if he had had occasion to 
visit Prague during the Christmas holidays, which is not improb- 
able. Dlabacz, in his "Kiinstler-Lexikon," has a paragraph of 
which this is a part: "v. Beethoven, a Concertmaster on the piano- 
forte. In the year 1795, he gave an academy in Prague at which 
he played with universal approval." It is true that Dlabacz may 
here record a concert given during Beethoven's stay in the Bohe- 
mian capital some weeks later; but, on the one hand, no other 
notice of such a concert has been discovered; and, on the other, the 
"universal approval" on this occasion may have been an induce- 
ment for him to return thither so soon. 

At all events, his delay in Vienna after coming from Nurem- 
berg was short and was doubtless occupied with the last corrections 
of the Sonatas, Op. 2, dedicated to Haydn, the six Menuets (second 
part), the Variations on the theme from "Le Nozze disturbate'* 
and those on "Nel cor piii non mi sento," all of which works are 
advertised in the "Wiener Zeitung" in the course of the next two 
months, while their author was again in Prague or cities farther 
North. For the following letter we are indebted to Madame van 
Beethoven, widow of the composer's nephew, Carl: 

To my brother Nicholaus Beethoven 

to be delivered at the apothecary shop at the Karnthner 
Thor Mr. von Z.^ will please hand this letter to the wig-maker who will 
care for its delivery. 

Prague, February 19th (1796). 
Dear Brother! 

So that you may at least know where I am and what I am 
doing I must needs write you. In the first place I am getting on well — 
very well. My art wins for me friends and respect; what more do I 
want.'' This time, too, I shall earn considerable money. I shall remain 
here a few weeks more and then go to Dresden, Leipsic and Berlin. It 
will probably be six weeks before I shall return. I hope that you 
will be more and more pleased with your sojourn in Vienna; but beware 
of the whole guild of wicked women. Have you yet called on Cousin 
Elss.-* You might write to me at this place if you have incUnation and 
bme. 

, . J ^^I.- '^''^^ ^•" '3 doubtless Zmeskall, who is thus shown to have been a trusted 
Inend of Beethoven's in 1796. "This time" indicates plainly that Beethoven had been 
in Prague before. Through the words: "Greetings to Brother Caspar" the pen has 
been heavily drawn, and. if the color of the ink can be trusted after so many years, it 
was done at the time of writing. "F. Linowsky" is FUrst (Prince) Lichnowsky. 



A SojorRN IN Pr.\gue and its Fruits 193 

F. Linowsky will probably soon return to Vienna; he has already 
gone from here. If you need money you may go to him boldly, for he 
still owes me some. 

For the rest I hope that your life will grow continually in happiness 
and to that end I hope to contribute something. Farewell, dear brother, 
and think occasionally of 

Your true, faithful brother 

L. Beethoven. 
Greetings to Brother Caspar. 

My address is The Golden Unicorn 
on the Kleinseite. 

A debt of gratitude is certainly due Johann van Beethoven 
for having carefully preserved this letter for full half a century 
and leaving it to his heirs, notwithstanding all the troubles which 
afterwards arose between the brothers, since it is hardly more val- 
uable and interesting for the facts which it states directly than for 
what it indicates and suggests more or less clearly. 

It, with other considerations, render it well nigh certain that 
Beethoven had now come to Prague with Prince Lichnowsky as 
Mozart had done, seven years before, and that upon leaving 
Vienna he had had no intention of pursuing his journey farther; 
but encouraged by the success thus reported to his brother, he 
suddenly determined to seek instruction and experience, pleasure, 
profit and fame in an extended tour. Had he projected this jour- 
ney already in Vienna, how could all recollection of it have been lost 
by Wegeler? How could von Breuning in the letter cited above have 
omitted all mention of it? Nor is it possible to think that Beet- 
hoven, still so young and still so unknown outside the Austrian 
and Bohemian capitals, having so many powerful and influential 
friends there, and there only, could at this time have gone forth 
to seek elsewhere some permanent position with a fixed salary. 
The remarks which have been preserved, made by him in writing 
or conversation, expressing a desire for such an api)ointment, all 
belong to a later period, and cannot by any torture of language 
be made to refer to this, when he was looking into the future with 
well-grounded hopes and serene confidence of advancement in his 
new home. Vienna seemed to offer him all his aml)ilion could 
crave; why should he .seek his fortune beyond her walls.'' 

It is pleasant to note his care for the welfare of his brother 
Johann, which care, doubtless, the other brother did not need. But 
how could Prince Lichnowsky have been indebted to Ludwig? 

The musical public of Prague was the same that had so re- 
cently honored itself by its instant and noble aj)prceiati()n of 
Mozart, and had given so glorious a welcome to "Figaro," "Don 



194 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Giovanni" and "Titus." There being no royal or imperial court 
there, and the public amusements being less numerous than in 
Vienna, the nobility were thrown more on their own resources for 
recreation; and hence, besides the traditional taste of the Bohe- 
mians for instrumental music, their capital was, perhaps, a better 
field for the virtuoso than Vienna. No notice of any public con- 
cert given by Beethoven on this visit has been discovered, either 
in the newspapers of the time or in the reminiscences of Thoma- 
schek and others; and "the considerable money" earned "this 
time" must have been the presents of the nobility for his perform- 
ances in their salons, and, perhaps, for compositions. 

The conception of the aria "Ah, perfido! spergiuro" is gener- 
ally associated with Beethoven's sojourn in Prague. The belief 
rests upon the fact that upon the cover of a copy which he revised 
Beethoven wrote the words "Une grande Scene mise en musique 
par L. V. Beethoven a Prague, 1796." On the first page is written : 
Recitativo e Aria composta e dedicata alia Signora Contessa di 
Clari da L. v. Beethoven. The opus number, 46, in this title is 
in the handwriting of Al. Fuchs, who owned a copy. Now, on 
November 21st, 1796, Madame Duschek, the well known friend 
of Mozart, at a concert in Leipsic sang "An Italian Scena composed 
for Madame Duschek by Beethoven," and it was easy to con- 
clude that the aria was really written by Beethoven for Madame 
Duschek. On a page of sketches preserved in Berlin among others 
there are sketches belonging to "Ah, perfido!" which do not agree 
with the printed page. On the lower margin of the first page 
is the remark: pour Mademoiselle la Comtesse de Clari. Notte- 
bohm is led by these things to surmise that the aria was written in 
Vienna in 1795, before the visit to Prague. In any case, we are 
permitted to associate the date 1796 only with the completion of 
the work in Prague; and the purpose may well have been to have 
it sung by Madame Duschek, who is thus proved to have belonged 
to the circle of Beethoven's friends in Prague. Nevertheless, the 
aria was originally intended for the Countess Josephine Clari, a 
well known amateur singer who married Count Christian Clam- 
Gal las in 1797. The scena first appeared in print in the fall of 
1805, when it was published in a collection made by Hoffmeister 
and Kuhnel. Beethoven placed it upon the programme of his 
concert in 1808. 

Another family in which Beethoven was received on the foot- 
ing of a friend was that of Appellate Councillor Kanka. Both 
father and son were dilettante composers and instrumental play- 
ers—the father on the violoncello, the son on the pianoforte. 



Incidents of a Visit to Berlin 195 

Gerber gives them a place in his Lexicon. "Miss Jeanette'* (the 
daughter), says the eulogistic Schonfeld, "played the pianoforte 
with great expression and skill." The son adopted his father's 
profession, became a distinguished writer on Bohemian law, and in 
later years did Beethoven good service as legal adviser. 

There is in the Artaria collection, a thick fascicle of sketches 
and musical fragments from Beethoven's hand in which papers 
from the Bonn period down to the close of the century are stitched 
together in such disorder as to show that they were thus joined 
merely for preservation. One sheet of mere sketches bears, if 
correctly deciphered, this inscription: "Written and dedicated to 
Gr. C. G. as a souvenir of his stay in P." On the fourth page of 
the sheet stands "these 4 Bagtalles by B." with something more 
illegible. May not some yet unknown composition of Beethoven 
be still in the possession of the family Clam-Gallas.'' Count 
Christian and his two daughters are numbered by Schonfeld 
among the fine pianoforte players of Prague, and these few 
notices exhaust the information obtained upon this visit of Beet- 
hoven there. His next appearance is in Berlin. No record has 
been found of the proposed visit to either Dresden or Leipsic, 
although his journey, it would seem, must have taken him 
through the Saxon capital. 

In after years he was fond of talking about his sojourn in 
Berlin, and some particulars have thus been preserved. "He 
played," says Ries, 

several times at court (that of King Frederick William H), where he 
played the two grand sonatas with obbligato violoncello, Op. 5, written 
for Duport, first violoncellist of the King, and himself. On his departure 
he received a gold snuff-box filled with Louis d'ors. Beethoven declared 
with pride that it was not an ordinary snviff-box, but such an one as it 
might have been customary to give to an ambassador. 

This king shared his uncle Frederick IPs love for music, while 
his taste was better and more cultivated. His instrument was the 
violoncello, and he often took part in quartets and sonictinics in 
the rehearsals of Italian operas. He exerted a j)ow(Tfiil and en- 
during influence for good upon the musical taste of Berlin. It was 
he who caused the operas of Gluck and Mozart to be i)erf()rnu'd 
there and introduced oratorios of Handel into the court concerts. 
His appreciation of Mozart's genius, and his wish to attach that 
great master to his court, are well known; and these facts render 
credible a statement with which Carl Czerny closes a description 
of Beethoven's extemporaneous pK'iying confril)uted to Cock's 
"London Musical Miscellany" (August 2nd, 1852): 



100 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

. . f 
His improvisation was most brilliant and striking. In whatever 

company he might chance to be, he knew how to produce such an effect 
upon every hearer that frequently not an eye remained dry, while many 
would break out into loud sobs; for there was something wonderful in 
his expression in addition to the beauty and originality of his ideas and 
his spirited style of rendering them. After ending an improvisation of 
this kind he would burst into loud laughter and banter his hearers 
on the emotion he had caused in them. "You are fools!" he would say. 
Sometimes he would feel himself insulted by these indications of sym- 
pathy. "Who can live among such spoiled children?" he would cry, and 
only on that account (as he told me) he declined to accept an invitation 
which the King of Prussia gave him after one of the extemporary 
performances above described. 

Chapelmaster Reichardt had withdrawn himself from Berlin 
two years before, having fallen into disfavor because of his 
sympathy with the French Revolution. Neither Himmel nor 
Rigliini, his successors, ever showed a genius for chamber music of 
a high order, and, indeed, there was no composer of reputation 
in this sphere then living in that quarter. The young Beethoven 
by his two sonatas had proved his powers and the King saw in him 
precisely the right man to fill the vacancy — no small proof of supe- 
rior taste and judgment. What the German expression w^as w^hich 
the translator of Czerny's letter has rendered "accept an invitation 
which the King gave him" there is no means of knowing; but as 
it stands it can only mean an invitation to enter permanently 
into his service. The death of the King the next year, of course, 
prevented its being ever renewed. 

Friedrich Heinrich Himmel, five years older than Beethoven, 
whom the King had withdrawn from the study of theology and 
caused to be thoroughly educated as a musician, first under Nau- 
mann in Dresden and afterw^ards in Italy, had returned the year 
before and had assumed his duties as Royal Pianist and Composer. 
As a virtuoso on his instrument his only rival in Berlin was Prince 
Louis Ferdinand, son of Prince August and nephew of Frederick II, 
two years younger than Beethoven and endowed by nature with 
talents and genius which would have made him conspicuous had 
fortune not given him royal descent. He and Beethoven became 
well known to each other and each felt and did full justice to the 
other's musical genius and attainments. Now let Ries speak 
again: 

In Berlin he (Beethoven) associated much with Himmel, of whom 
he said that he had a pretty talent, but no more; his pianoforte playing, 
he said, was elegant and pleasing, but he was not to be compared with 
Pnnce Louis Ferdinand. In his opinion he paid the latter a high com- 
phment when once he said to him that his playing was not that of a 



Meetings with Hi^oiel, Fasch and Zelter 197 

king or prince but more like that of a thoroughly good pianoforte player. 
He fell out with Himmel in the following manner: One day when they 
were together Himmel begged Beethoven to improvise; which Beet- 
hoven did. Afterwards Beethoven insisted that Himmel do the same. 
The latter was weak enough to agree; but after he had played for quite 
a time Beethoven remarked: "Well, when are you going fairly to begin.'*" 
Himmel had flattered himself that he had already performed wonders; 
he jumped up and the men behaved ill towards each other. Beethoven 
said to me: "I thought that Himmel had been only preluding a bit." 
Afterwards they were reconciled, indeed, but Himmel could never forgive 
or forgets They also exchanged letters until Himmel played Beethoven 
a shabby trick. The latter always wanted to know the news from Berlin. 
This bored Himmel, who at last wrote that the greatest news from Berlia 
was that a lamp for the blind had been invented. Beethoven ran about 
with the news and all the world wanted to know how this was possible. 
Thereupon he wrote to Himmel that he had blundered in not giving 
more explicit information. The answer which he received, but which 
does not permit of communication, not only put an end to the corre- 
spondence but brought ridicule upon Beethoven, who was so inconsiderate 
as to show it then and there. 

\yith Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch and Carl Friedrich 
Zelter he also made a friendly acquaintance, and twice at least 
attended meetings of the Singakademie, which then numbered 
about 90 voices. The first time, June 21st, says the "Gescliichte 
der Singakademie": 

A chorale, the first three numbers of the mass and the first six 
of the 119th Psalm were sung for him. Hereupon he seated himself at 
the pianoforte and played an improvisation on the theme of the final 
fugue: "Meine Zunge rtihmt im \Yettgesang dein Lob." The last num- 
bers of "Davidiana" (a collection of versets by Fasch) formed the con- 
clusion. No biographer has mentioned this visit or even his sojourn 
in Berlin. Nor does Fasch pay special attention to it; but the perform- 
ance must have pleased, for it was repeated at the meeting on the 28th. 

The performance of tlie Society must also liave pleased 
Beethoven, and with good reason; for FascJi's mass was in sixteen 
parts and the psalm and "Davidiana," in part, in eight; and no 
such music was then to be heard elsewhere north of the Al|)s. 

In 1810, Beethoven, speaking of his playing on that occasion, 
told Mme. von Arnim (then Elizabeth Brentano) that at the close 
his hearers did not a|)y)lau(l but came crowding around him weej)- 
ing; and added, ironically, "that is not what we artists wish -we 
want applause I" Fasch's simple record of Beetiioven's visit is this: 

June 21, 1700. Mr. van Beethoven extemporized on the "Davi- 
diana," taking the fugue theme from Ps. 119, No. IG. . . . Mr. Beethovea, 

'Beethoven told the story to Mme. von Arnim with the ncMilional p.irtiriil.ar 
that they were walking in Unter den Linden and went thence info a private room of 
the principal coffee-house where there was a pianoforte, for the exhil)ilion of tlieir skill. 



IPS The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

pianist from Vienna, was so accommodating as to permit us to hear an 
iniprt)visation. , . . June 28, Mr. van Beethoven was again so obliging 
as to phiy an improvisation for us. 

Early in July, the King left Berlin for the baths of Pyrmont, 
the nobility dispersed to their estates or to watering-places, and 
the city "was empty and silent." Beethoven, therefore, could 
have had no inducement to prolong his stay; but the precise time 
of his departure is unknown, Schindler names Leipsic as one of 
the cities in which, during this tour, Beethoven "awakened interest 
and created a sensation by his pianoforte playing, and, particu- 
larly, by his brilliant improvisation"; but no allusion in any public 
journal of that or any subsequent period, not even the faintest 
tradition, has been discovered to confirm the evidently erroneous 
statements. Moreover, Rochlitz in his account of a visit to the 
composer in 1822 remarks, "I had not yet seen Beethoven"; and 

again, "It was only as a youth that he passed through 

(Leipsic)." So, until some new discovery be made, this must also 
find its place in the long list of Schindler's mistakes. 

Notwithstanding Wegeler's statement ("Notizen," 28) that he 
left Beethoven a member of the family of Prince Lichnowsky "in 
the middle of 1796," it is as certain as circumstantial evidence 
can well make it that the Doctor and Christoph von Breuning had 
returned to Bonn before Beethoven reached Vienna again; but 
Stephan and Lenz were still there. The former obtained at this 
time an appointment in the Teutonic Order, which so many of his 
ancestors had served, and his name appears in the published "Cal- 
endars of the Order" from 1797 to 1803, both inclusive, as "Hof- 
rathsassessor." He then soon departed from Vienna to Mergent- 
heim, whence he wrote (November 23rd) with other matters the 
following upon Beethoven to Wegeler and Christoph: 

I do not know whether or not Lenz has written you anything 
about Beethoven; but take notice that I saw hira in Vienna and that 
afoording to my mind, which Lenz has confirmed, he has become some- 
what staider, or, perhaps I should say, has acquired more knowledge 
of humanity through travels (or was it because of the new ebullition 
of friendship on his arrival?) and a greater conviction of the scarceness 
and value of good friends. A hundred times, dear Wegeler, he wishes 
you here again, and regrets nothing so much as that he did not follow 
much of your advice. ("Notizen," page 19.) 

Except this notice of his bearing and demeanor, there is a 
complete hiatus in Beethoven's history from his appearance in the 
Singakademie until the following November. The so-called 
Fischoff Manuscript has, it is true, a story of a "dangerous illness" 



Attempts at Patriotic Music 199 

which was caused by his own imprudence this summer; but as it 
is in date utterly irreconcilable with other known facts, it will 
receive its due consideration hereafter. The most plausible sug- 
gestion is that coming back, flushed with victory, with the success 
of his tour and delighted with the novelty of travelling at his ease, 
he made that excursion to Pressburg and Pesth of which afterwards 
Ries was informed and made record ("Notizen," page 109), but 
of which no other account is known. 

And thus we come to November. This was the year of that 
astounding series of victories ending at Arcole, gained by the young 
French general Napoleon Bonaparte. The Austrian government 
and people alike saw and feared the danger of invasion, a general 
uprising took place and volunteer corps were formed in all quarters. 
For the Vienna corps, Friedelberg wrote his "Abschiedsgesang an 
Wiens Burger beim Auszug der Fahnen-Division der Wiener Frei- 
williger," and Beethoven set it to music. The original printed 
edition bears date "November 15, 1795." It does not appear to 
have gained any great popularity, and a drinking-song ("Lasst das 
Herz uns froh erheben") was afterwards substituted for Friedel- 
berg's text, and published by Schott in Mayence. 

The rapid progress of the French army had caused the Ger- 
mans in Italy to become distrustful of the future and to hasten 
homeward. Among them were Beethoven's old companions in 
the Bonn orchestra, the cousins Andreas and Bernhard Romberg, 
who in the spring of this year (May 2Gth), had kissed the hand of 
the Queen of Naples, daughter of the Empress Maria Thorosia, 
and then departed to Rome to join another friend of the Bonn 
period, Karl Kiigelgen, The three coming north arrived at Vienna 
in the autumn; the Rombergs remained there for a space witli 
Beethoven, while Kiigelgen proceeded to Berlin. Baron von 
Braun — not to be mistaken for Beethoven's "first Mfecenas" the 
Russian Count Browne — had heard the cousins the year before in 
Munich and invited them "to give Vienna an opportunity to ]i(>ar 
them." There is no notice of tlieir concert in iJic Vienna news- 
papers of the period, and the date is unknown. From Lenz von 
Breuning is gleaned an additional fact which alone gives interest 
to the concert for us. He writes to Wegeler in January, 1797 — not 
1796, as erroneously printed in the a})])<'n(lix to tJu^ "Notizcn," page 
20 — and after the meeting with the von Breunings at Nuremberg: 

Beethoven is here again ;^ he played in the Romhorg concert. lie 
is the same as of oM anfl I am glad that he arul tlic RoinlxT^s still ^'et 
along with each other. Once lu; was near a break witli llicm; 1 interceded 

'After the journey to Pesth? 



200 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

ami juhiovod my end to a fair extent. Moreover, he thinks a great 
deal of nie just now. 

It it clear that the Rombergs, under the circumstances, must 
have largely owed their limited success to Beethoven's name and 
influence. In February, 1797, they were again in their old posi- 
tions in Schroeder's orchestra in Hamburg. 

Beethoven during this winter must be imagined busily en- 
gaged with pupils and private concerts, perhaps also with his 
operatic studies with Salieri, certainly with composition and with 
preparation for and the oversight of various works then passing 
through the press; for in February and April, Artaria advertises 
the two Violoncello Sonatas, Op. 5, the Pianoforte Sonata for four 
hands. Op. 6, the Trio, Op. 3, the Quintet, Op. 4, and the Twelve 
Variations on a Danse Russe; these last are the variations which 
he dedicated to the Countess Browne and which gave occasion 
for the anecdote related by Ries illustrating Beethoven's forgetful- 
ness ; for this dedication he had ^ 

received a handsome riding-horse from Count Browne as a gift. He 
rode the animal a few times, soon after forgot all about it and, worse 
than that, its food also. His servant, who soon noticed this, began to 
hire out the horse for his own benefit and, in order not to attract the 
attention of Beethoven to the fact, for a long time withheld from him 
all bills for fodder. At length, however, to Beethoven's great amazement 
he handed in a very large one, which recalled to him at once his horse 
and his neglectfulness. ("Notizen," page 120.) 

On Thursday, April 6, 1797, Schuppanzigh gave a concert, on 
the programme of which Beethoven's name figured twice. Num- 
ber 2 was an "Aria by Mr. van Beethoven, sung by Madame 
Tribolet (-^Villmann) ;" No. 3 was "a Quintet for Pianoforte and 4 
wind-instruments, played and composed by Mr. L. v. Beethoven." 
This was the beautiful Quintet, Op. 16, the time of whose origin is 
thus more definitely indicated than in the "Chronologisches Ver- 
zeichniss," a fact for which we are indebted to Nottebohm. 

But the war was renewed and the thoughts of the Viennese 
were occupied with matters more serious than the indulgence of 
their musical taste. On the 16th of March, Bonaparte forced the 
passage of the Tagliamento and Isonzo. During the two weeks 
following he had conquered the greater part of Carniola, Carinthia 
and the Tyrol, and was now rapidly approaching Vienna. On the 
11th of February, Lorenz Leopold Hauschka's "Gott erhalte unsern 
Kaiser" with Haydn's music had been sung for the first time in the 
theatre and now, when, on April 7th, the Landsturm was called out, 
Friedelberg produced his war-song "Ein grosses, deutsches Volk 



A Quiet axd Uneventful Period 201 

sind wir," to which Beethoven also gave music. The printed copy- 
bears date April 14th, suggesting the probability that it was sung 
on the occasion of the grand consecration of the banners which 
took place on the Glacis on the 17th. Beethoven's music was, 
however, far from being so fortunate as Haydn's, and seems to 
have gained as little popularity as his previous attempt; but as 
the preliminaries to a treaty of peace were signed at Leoben on 
the 18th, and the armies, so hastily improvised, were dismissed 
three weeks afterwards, the taste for war-songs vanished. 

The little that is known of Beethoven's position as a teacher 
at this period is very vague and unsatisfactory; enough, however, 
to render it sufficiently certain that he had plenty of pupils, many 
of them young ladies of high rank who paid him generously. In 
the triple capacity of teacher, composer and pianist his gains were 
large and he was able to write in May to Wegeler that he was 
doing well and steadily better. 

It is very possible that the illness mentioned by the Fischoff 
Manuscript may hav^e occurred during this summer. There can 
be little doubt that the original authority for the statement is 
Zmeskall, and therefore the fact of such an attack may be accepted 
as certain, but the date — being, as there given, clearly wrong, as 
well as the inference that in it lay the original cause of the com- 
poser's subsequent loss of hearing — must be left mainly to con- 
jecture. From May to November, 1797, Beethoven's history is 
still a blank and nothing but the utter silence of Lenz von Breuning 
in his correspondence with his family at Bonn on a topic so 
likely to engage his vSympathies as the dangerous illness of his 
friend, appears to prevent the filling of this blank in part by 
throwing him upon a bed of sickness. True, Lenz may have 
written and the letter have been lost or destroyed; or he may 
have neglected to write because of his approaching departure 
from Vienna, which took place in the autumn. His all)um, still 
I)reserved, has among its contril)utors Ludwig and Joliann van 
Beethoven and Zmeskall. Ludwig wrote as follows: 

Truth exists for the wise. 
Beauty for a feeling heart: 
They l)eloug to each other. 

Dear, ^ood Breuning; 

Never sliall I forget the time which I spent with you in Honn 
as well as here. Hold fast your friendship for me; you will always find 
me the same. 

Vienna 1797 Your true friend 

the 1st of October. L. v. Beethoven. 



^l(H The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Tliey never met again. Lenz died on April 10th of the follow- 
iiis? year. In November, Beethoven enjoyed a singular compliment 
paici him by the association of the Bildende Kiinstler— a repetition 
of his minuets and trios composed two years before for the artists' 
ball; and on the 23rd of December, he again contributed to the 
attractions of the Widows' and Orphans' Concert by producing 
the Variations for two Oboes and English Horn on "La ci darem 
la mano," played by Czerwenka, Renter and Teimer. His publi- 
cations in 1797, besides those mentioned at the beginning of the 
vear, were the Twelve Variations for Pianoforte and Violoncello 
on the theme from Handel's "Judas Maccabaeus," precise date 
unknown; the Pianoforte Sonata, Op. 7; and the Serenade, Op. 8, 
both advertised by Artaria and Co., October 7th. Finally, the 
Rondo in C, Op. 51, No. 1, published by Artaria with the catalogue 
number 711. 



We come to a consideration of the facts touching the com- 
positions of the years 1796 and 1797. 

Among the most widely known of these is "Adelaide." The 
composition of this song must have been begun in the first half 
of 1795, if not earlier, for sketches of it are found among the 
exercises in double counterpoint written for Albrechtsberger. 
Other sheets containing sketches for "Adelaide" and the setting 
of Burger's "Seufzer eines Ungeliebten" are preserved in the library 
of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and the British 
Museum in London. The song was published by Artaria in 1797, 
under the title "Adelaide von Matthisson. Eine Kantate fiir eine 
Singstimme mit Begleitung des Klaviers. In Musik gesetzt und 
dem Verfasser gewidmet von Ludwig van Beethoven." The opus 
number 46 was given to it later. In 1800 Beethoven sent a copy of 
the song to the poet and accompanied it with the following letter: 

Most honored Sir! 

You are herewith receiving from me a composition which has been 
in print for several years, but concerning which you probably, to my 
shame, know nothing. Perhaps I can excuse myself and explain how 
it came about that I dedicated something to you which came so warmly 
from my heart yet did not inform you of the fact, by saying that at 
first I was unaware of your place of residence, and partly also I was 
diffident, not knowing but that I had been over-hasty in dedicating a 
work to you without knowing whether or not it met with your approval. 

Even now I send you "Adelaide" with some timidity. You know 
■what changes are wrought by a few years in an artist who is contin- 
ally going forward; the greater the progress one makes in art the less 



The Composition of ''Adel-\ide" 203 

one is satisfied with one's older works. My most ardent wish will be 
fulfilled if my musical setting of your heavenly "Adelaide" does not 
wholly displease you, and if it should move you soon to write another 
poem of its kind, and you, not finding my request too immodest, should 
send it to me at once, I will put forth all my powers to do your beautiful 
poetry justice. Look upon the dedication as partly a token of the 
delight which the composition of your A. gave me, partly as an evidence 
of my gratitude and respect for the blessed pleasure which your poetry 
has always given, and always will give me. 

Vienna, August -ith, 1800. 

When playing "Adelaide" sometimes recall 
your sincere admirer 

Beethoven. 

Whether or not Matthisson answered this letter is not known ; 
but when he republished "Adelaide" in the first volume of his 
collected poems in 1815, he appended to it a note to this effect: 
"Several composers have vitalized this little lyric fantasy with 
music; but according to my strong conviction none of them so 
threw the text into the shade with his melody as the highly gifted 
Ludwig van Beethoven in Vienna." The "Opferlied," the words 
of which were also written by Matthisson, is one of the poems to 
which Beethoven repeatedly recurred. "It seems always to have 
presented itself to him as a prayer," says Nottebohm. Its last 
words, "The beautiful to the good," were written in autograph 
albums even in his later years. The origin of the composition 
is to be ascribed to 1795, as Nottebohm enters it in his catalogue. 
It was thus possible for Wegeler to know it in 1797, when he put 
a Masonic text under the music. It had not yet been published 
at that time, however, which fact accounts for the discovery of 
sketches for it in a sketchbook of 1798-1799 described by Notte- 
bohm. 

It was not published until later, probably in 1808, when it 
came with two other songs from the press of Simroc-k. B(H'thuven 
composed the poem a second time, utilizing the beginning of his 
first melody, for solo, chorus and orchestra (Op. l'-21b). To this 
setting we shall recur hereafter. There is still anotlier song which 
must be })rought into tlie story of this period. It is the "Seufzer 
eines Ungeliebten," with its two parts l)ased on two independent 
but related poems })y BUrgcr. Particular interest attaches to tJui 
second part, "Gegenliebe," from the fact that its melody was used 
afterward by Beethoven for the variations in the "Clioral Fan- 
tasia," Op. 80. Sketches for this melody are found associated 
with sketches for "Adelaide" on a sheet in the arrliives of tlie 
Gesellscliaft der Musikfreunde. Nottebohm fixes the year of the 



204 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

song's origin as 1795. It was first published as late as 1837 by 
Diabolli along with the song, "Turteltaube, du klagest," which was 
composed much later. The Italian song, "O care selve, o cara 
folice libertii" (from Metastasio's "Olimpiade"), entered under 
number 1264 in Thayer's "Chronologisches Verzeichniss," appears 
as a chorus for three voices at the end of the Albrechtsberger 
exercises, and hence may be placed in the year 1795, as is done by 
Nottebohm, who adds that it originated simultaneously with the 
setting of "AVer ist ein freier Mann.?" Here mention must also 
be made of two arias which Beethoven wrote for introduction in 
Umlauf s comic opera "Die schone Schusterin." These songs were 
assigned to the Bonn period in the first edition of this biography 
because the opera was performed in Bonn in the years 1789 and 
1790. The two songs composed by Beethoven are an arietta, or 
rather strophic song, "O welch' ein Leben'' for tenor, and an aria, 
"Soil ein Schuh nicht driicken?" for soprano. The words of the 
latter are in the original libretto. The words of the tenor song, 
though not part of the original text, were obviously written for 
the opera. The melody was afterward used by Beethoven as a 
setting for Goethe's "Mailied," published in 1805, as Op. 52. Both 
songs, as written for the opera, were published for the first time 
in the Complete Edition of Beethoven's works from the copies 
preserved in the Berlin Library. 

Most important of the instrumental compositions of this 
period is the Quintet for Strings, Op. 4, which is frequently set 
down as an arrangement (or revised transcription) of the Octet, 
Op. 103. The Quintet, however, though it employs the same 
motivi as the Octet, is an entirely new work, made so by the radical 
changes of structure — changes of register to adapt the themes to 
the stringed instruments and changes in the themes themselves. 
The origin of the Quintet can be placed anywhere in the period 
from 1792 (when the Octet was probably begun) to the beginning 
of 1797, when the Quintet was advertised as "wholly new." There 
is a clue in the Wegeler anecdote already related in connection 
with the String Trio, Op. 3, in the chapter of this work devoted to 
the works composed in Bonn. In 1795, Count Appony commis- 
sioned Beethoven to compose a quartet, the honorarium being 
fixed. Wegeler's recollection was that Beethoven twice undertook 
the task; but the first effort resulted in the String Trio and the 
second in "a quintet (Op. 4)." There is not sufficient internal 
evidence to reject the story so far as it affects the Quintet (the 
Trio has already been subjected to study), and from its structure 
it might well be argued that the composition was undertaken as a 



Numerous Pieces of Chamber Music 205 

quartet and expanded into a quintet in the hands of the composer. 
If Count Appony's commission was given in 1795, the date of the 
completion of the Quintet may be set down as 1796. Artaria, 
who published the work, advertised it in the "Wiener Zeitung" of 
February 8th, 1797. 

The two Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violoncello, Op. 5, belong 
to the year 1796, and are the fruits of the visit to Berlin. There is 
no reason to question Ries's story that Beethoven composed them 
for Pierre Duport and played them with him. The dedication to 
Friedrich Wilhelm II and the character of the works lend credil)il- 
ity to Ries's account of their origin. Beethoven played them with 
Bernhard Romberg in Vienna at the close of 1796 or beginning of 
1797, and they were published soon afterward, being advertised 
by Artaria in the "Wiener Zeitung" of February 8th, 1797. The 
Twelve Variations on a theme from Handel's "Judas Maccabjpus," 
were published by Artaria in 1797, dedicated to the Princess Lich- 
nowsky, nee Countess Thun. There were no performances of 
Handel's oratorios in Vienna at this time, but it is not improbable 
that the suggestion for the Variations came from Baron van 
Swieten. 

Here seems to be the place to refer to the Allegro movement 
in sonata-form for viola and violoncello which Beetlioven gave the 
title, "Duett mit zwei Augenglasern obbligato von L. v. Beet- 
hoven" (Duet with two Eyeglasses obbligato, by L. v. Beethoven), 
to be found in the volume of sketches from this period (1784-1800) 
which the British Museum bought from J. N. Kafka in 1875. ^ 
There ought to be a hint as to the identity of the two ])layers 
"with two eyeglasses obbligato." Here is also the place for the 
three Duos for Clarinet and Bassoon first published by Andre in 
Offenbach. The Sextet for Wind-instruments pul)lished by Breit- 
kopf and Ilartel in 1810 (it received the opus number 71 later), 
belongs to this period. Sketches for the last movement, which 
differ from the ultimate form, however, are found amongst the 
sketches for the Pianoforte Sonata, Op. 10, No. S. The iiucplion 
of the Sonata must fall sometinu- Ix'twecn the middle of 17!)() and 
the mifidle of 1798, since the subscription for it was opened in the 
beginning of July, 1798, and other works of a similar character 
were already completed in 1797. It is, therefore, possible to place 
the origin of the earlier movements of the Sextet in an earlier 
period, say 1796-97, a proceeding which is confirmed i)y the cir- 
cumstance that the beginning is found before sketcJies for "Ah, 

"See the articles by J. S. Shedlock in "The Mtisiral Times." June to December, 
1892. Mr. Shedlock made a copy of the duet for Dr. Deitera. 



206 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

perfidol" (which was composed in 1796 at the latest), on a sheet of 
sketclios in the Artaria collection. The Kafka volume of sketches 
in the British JMuseum contains sketches for the minuet and trio 
of the Sextet, "Ah, perfido!" and the Pianoforte Sonata, Op. 49, 
No. 2. This fact also indicates the year 1796. Beethoven let the 
work lie a long time. It had its first hearing at a chamber con- 
cert for the benefit of Schuppanzigh in April, 1805; but it was not 
until 1809 that he gave it out for publication. On August 3rd 
of that year he wrote to Breitkopf and Hartel: "By the next mail- 
coach you will receive a song, or perhaps two, and a sextet for wind- 
instruments," and on August 8th: "The sextet is one of my earlier 
things and, moreover, w^as written in a single night — nothing can 
really be said of it beyond that it was written by an author who at 
least has produced a few better works; yet for many people such 
works are the best." The statement that the work was written 
in a single night must be taken in a Pickwickian sense, for sketches 
of it have been found. 

It is plain that at this time Beethoven had a particular pre- 
dilection for wind-instruments. Erich Prieger owned a fragment 
of a Quintet in E-flat for Oboe, three Horns and Bassoon, formerly 
in the possession of Artaria. The beginning of the first movement 
is lacking, but can be supplied from the repetition in the second 
part. The Adagio is intact, but there are only a few measures of 
the Minuet. Influenced, no doubt, by the performances of such 
compositions, Beethoven composed at this time two works for two 
oboes and English horn. Nottebohm surmises that they were in- 
stigated by a terzetto for two oboes and English horn composed 
by a musician named Wendt and performed at a concert of the 
Tonkiinstler-Gesellschaft by three brothers, Johann, Franz and 
Philipp Teimer, on December 23rd, 1793. One of the two works, 
the Trio which was published as Op. 87, is pretty well known, 
since it was made accessible to wider circles by arrangements pub- 
lished in Beethoven's day and with his approval, Artaria pub- 
lished it in April, 1806, without opus number. He also published 
it for two violins and viola as Op. 29, and finally as a Sonata for 
Pianoforte and Violin. The last transcription was published first, 
as stated in Thayer's Catalogue. Nothing of a historical nature 
is known of the Variations on "La ci darem" for the same instru- 
ments beyond the fact that they w^ere performed on December 
23rd, 1797, at the concert for the benefit of the Widows and Orphans 
in the National Court Theatre. On a free page of the autograph 
(after the sixth variation) there are some miscellaneous sketches, 
among them a motive for the Adagio of Op. 3, another which was 



Predilection for Wixd-Ixstrumexts 207 

used in the Serenade, Op. 25, and, more remarkable still, a few 
measures of "Adelaide," on whicli he was at work in 1793, and 
which appeared in print in 1797. Obviously, the Variations were 
finished, and we may set down at the latest the year 1795 for their 
beginning. 

The Sextet for four stringed instruments and two horns. Op. 
81b, also belongs to this early period and in all likelihood was con- 
ceived before the Sextet for wind-instruments. Sketches for the 
first two movements are upon a sheet in the Berlin library by the 
side of sketches for the song, "Seufzer eines Ungeliebten." 
Sketches for this song keep company with some for "Adelaide.'* 
The Sextet is therefore to be credited to the year 1795, or perhaps 
179-1. It was published in 1819 by Simrock in Bonn. In a letter 
which Beethoven sent to Simrock with the MS. (but which has 
been lost) he had written to the pul)lisher, who was an admirable 
horn player, that "the pupil had given his master many a hard 
nut to crack." As to whether or not, and if so when and where, 
the Sextet had been played before being sent to Simrock there is, 
as yet, no conclusive evidence. 

The beautiful Quintet in E flat, Op. 16, for Pianoforte and 
Wind-instruments, was played at a concert given by Scliuppanzigh 
on April 6tli, 1797, being number 5 on the programme which de- 
scribed it as "A Quintet for the Fortepiano accompanied by four 
Wind-instruments, played and composed by Mr. Ludwig van 
Beethoven." It liad probably })een completed not long before. 
Sketches are found in connection with a remark concerning tlie 
Sonata in C minor. Op. 10, No. 1. 

It was in all probability composed between 1794 and the be- 
ginning of 1797. In the minutes of a meeting of the Tonkiinstler- 
Gesellschaft under date May 10th, 1797, occurs this entry: "On 
the second day Mr. van Beethoven produced a Quintet and dis- 
tinguished liimself in the Quintet and incidentally by an iuiprovi- 
sation." The word "dabey" (incidentally) seems to indicate that 
lie introduced an imi)rovisation in the Quintet as he did on a later 
occasion to the embarrassment of the other i)laycrs, but to the 
delight of the listeners. Ries tells the story in liis "Xoti/.en," 
p. 79. It was at a concert at which the famous oboist Friedrich 
Kamm, of Municli, took ])art. 

In the final Allegro there occur several holds before a resiuuption 
of the theme. At one of these Beethoven suddenly he^'an to improvise", 
took tlie Rorulo as a theme a?ul entertained himself and the (dliers for 
a consideral>lc space; but not his assoei.ites. They were displeased, an<l 
Ramm even enraged {aiifgehracht). It really was comical to see these 



208 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

gentlemen waiting expectantly every moment to go on, continually 
lifting their instruments to their lips, then quietly putting them down 
again. At last Beethoven was satisfied and dropped again into the 
Rondo. The entire audience was delighted. 

"NVasielewski doubts the correctness of the story, since there is 
but one hold in the Finale. Dr. Deiters thought that Ries con- 
founded the last with the first movement, in which the clarinet 
enters after a fermata. The Quintet was published by Mollo in 
Vienna in 1801, and was dedicated to Prince Schwarzenberg. It 
appeared simultaneously in one arrangement made by Beethoven 
liimself as a Quartet for Pianoforte and Strings, as Ries expressly 
declares. Beethoven had nothing to do with the arrangement as 
a String Quartet published by Artaria as Op. 75. 

Touching the history of the Serenade for Violin, Viola and 
Violoncello, Op. 8, little else is know^n beyond the fact that its 
publication was announced in the "Wiener Zeitung" on October 
7th, 1797, by Artaria. Mr. Shedlock called attention in the 
"Musical Times" of 1892 (p. 525) to sketches 'which appeared 
along with others of the Pianoforte Concerto in B-flat, and the 
Trio, Op. 1, No. 2. That Beethoven valued the w^ork highly is a 
fair deduction from the fact that he published it soon after its 
composition and authorized the publication of an arrangement for 
Pianoforte and Viola which he had revised. This arrangement 
received the opus number 42, though probably not from Beethoven. 
Hoffmeister in Leipzig, who published it in 1804, under the title 
"Xotturno pour Fortepiano et Alto arrange d'un Notturno pour 
Violon, Alto et Violoncello et revu par I'auteur — (Euvre 42," ad- 
vertised it in the "Intelligenzblatt der Zeitschrift fiir die elegante 
Welt" on December 17, 1803. It is this arrangement, no doubt, 
to whicli Beethoven referred in a letter to Hoffmeister, dated 
September 22nd, 1803, in which he said: "These transcriptions 
are not mine, though they w'ere mucli improved by me in places. 
Therefore, I am not willing to have you state that I made them, 
for that would be a lie and I could find neither time nor patience 
for such work." According to the view of Dr. Deiters, which was 
shared also by Nottebohm, the Serenade, Op. 25, also belongs here. 
It was probably composed before Op. 8. Beethoven entrusted its 
publication in the beginning of 1802 to Cappi, who had just begun 
business. Then, like Op. 8, it was published by Hoffmeister as 
Op. 41, in an arrangement for Pianoforte and Flute (or Violin), 
which, no doubt, was included in Beethoven's protest against being 
set down as the transcriber. 



A Group of Pl\noforte Sonatas 209 

Prominent among the compositions of this time is the Sonata 
in E-flat for Pianoforte, Op. 7. The only evidence of the date of 
its composition is the announcement of its pubhcation by Artaria 
in the "Wiener Zeitung" of October 7th, 1797. There are sketches 
for the third movement in the Kafka volume, but they afford no 
help in fixing a date. The Sonata is inscribed to the Countess 
Babette Keglevich, one of Beethoven's pupils, who afterwards 
married Prince Innocenz Odescalchi in Pressburg. Nottebohm 
quotes the following from a letter written by a nephew of the 
Countess: "The Sonata was composed for her when she was still 
a maiden. It was one of the hobbies, of which he (Beethoven) 
had many, that, living as he did vis-a-vis, he came in morning 
gown, slippers and tasseled cap (Zipfelmiitze) to give her lessons." 
Inasmuch as the sketches mentioned belong only to the third 
movement and the sheet contains the remark : "diverse 4 bagatelles 
de inglese Landler, etc.," Nottebohm supposes that the movement 
was originally intended for one of the Bagatelles and was later 
incorporated in the Sonata. It is very probable that the two 
little Sonatas, Op. 49, belong to this period. Everybody knows 
that the second movement of the second Sonata (the minuet) is 
based on the same motive as the third movement of the Septet. 
That the motive is older in the Sonata than in the Septet is 
proved by the fact that sketches for it are found along with some 
to "Ah, perfido!" (1795-96) and the Sextet for Wind-instruments, 
Op. 71. This circumstance establishes its early origin, say in 
1795 or, at latest, 1796. Nottebohm considers it likely that the 
first Sonata was finished at the latest in 1798, certainly before 
the Sonata "Patheticjue" and the Trio for strings. Op. 9, No. .S. 
The Sonatas were ready for publication as early as ISO'J, in which 
year brother Carl offered them to Andre in Offenbach, 'i'hcy 
were not published until 1805, when they appeared with tJie 
imprint of the Bureau d'Arts et dTiulustrie, as ai)])ears from ;iii 
advertisement in the "Wiener Zeitung" of January l!)tJi. ISO."). 
Here, too, belongs the little Sonata in 1) for fonr Jiands, Op. (J, 
published by Artaria in Octol)er, 1797, as Nottebolini surmises. 
It was probably composed for purposes of instruction. Except 
a few trifles (marches, and two sets of variations) Beethoven 
wrote nothing more for four hands, tliough Diabelli ofrcicd him 
40 ducats for .i four-hand sonata in 18'24. 

In the pianoforte conijjositions of these two years arc to be 
included tlie \'ariations in A on a llussian dance from the ballet 
"Das Waldniadchcn," published in April, 17!)7, and dedicated to 
the Countess Browne, 7iee Bietinghoff. "Das Waldmadchen," by 



^210 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Traffieri, music by Paul Wranitzky, was first performed at the 
KiirntJiiiortlior-Tlieater on September 28, 1796, and was repeated 
sixteen times the same year. This fixes the time of the composi- 
tion of tlie Variations approximately. They were probably written 
before the end of 1796. 

There are a few other compositions brought to light by Notte- 
})ohm and Mandyczewski, which call for notice. No. 299, Series 
XXV (Supplement), B. and H. Complete Works, is an Allegretto 
in C minor, ^ time; No. 295 a Bagatelle, also in C minor %, 
Presto, sketches for which are associated with those for the C 
minor Sonata, Op. 10, No. 1. From the remark: "Very short 
minuets to the new sonatas. The Presto remains for that in C 
minor," written about this time Nottebohm concludes that this 
Bagatelle was conceived as an intermezzo in the C minor Sonata, 
and that, possibly, the Allegretto had a similar origin.^ 

A unique place among Beethoven's early works is occupied by 
the two pieces for mandolin with pianoforte accompaniment first 
published in the Complete Edition. Thayer, who knew of the 
sketches at Artaria's, but seems not to have seen the composition 
recovered by Nottebohm, which is called Sonatine, associated 
Beethoven's purpose with Krumpholz, who was a virtuoso on the 
mandolin; but Mylich, Amenda's student companion, may have 
been in the composer's mind. 

The fact that no compositions for orchestra save the dances 
for the Redoutensaal, to be referred to presently, have been pre- 
served, is not to be taken as conclusive evidence that Beethoven 
did not venture into the field of orchestral music in the Bonn and 
early Vienna days. Such an assertion is less likely to be made now 
than before the discovery of the two Imperial cantatas of 1790. 
^Moreover, IVIr. Shedlock's extracts from the Kafka sketchbook in 
the British ISIuseum show that Beethoven tried his youthful hand 
at a symphony. Among the earliest of the sketches there is one 
in C minor marked "Sinfonia," which begins as follows: 

Presto 



^>T; i J | r- i rr hfnH J l j J ^ l r ^^ 



Baas: C. 



Nottebohm notes the theme also in his "Zweite Beethoveniana" 
(p. 577). Shedlock's contention that out of this theme grew the 
second movement of the first Pianoforte Quartet (composed in 

'"Beethoveniana." p. 31. Later Beethoven wanted to give the Sonata an Inter- 
mezzo m C major {Ibid., p. 479j, but did not carry out the intention. 



The "Jena" Symphony and Some Dances 211 

1785) is incontestable. The symphonic sketch is therefore of 
earher date than 1785. In 1909, Prof. Fritz Stein, Musical Director 
of the University of Jena, announced that in the collection of music 
of the Academic Concerts, founded in 1780, he had discovered the 
complete parts of a symphony in four movements in C "par Louis 
van Beethoven." These words are in the handwriting of the copy- 
ist on the second violin part; on the 'cello part is written: "Sym- 
phonic von Beethoven." Dr. Hugo Riemann,^ after a glance 
through the score prej^ared by Prof. Stein and put at his disposal, 
gave it as his opinion that the symphony might well be a com- 
position by Beethoven. Thematically, he says it suggests partly 
the Mannheim school, partly Haydn; the instrumentation is 
nearer Mozart than Stamitz or Cannabich. 

Mention of Beethoven's orchestral dances has already been 
made. Schindler's remark that the musicians of Vienna "refused 
citizenship" to Beethoven's efforts to write Austrian dance music 
is discredited, at least so far as Viennese societv is concerned, bv 
the success of his dances composed for the Redoutensaal and the 
very considerable number of his waltzes, liindlers, minuets, ecos- 
saises, allemandes and contra-dances which have been preserved. 
Only the smaller portion of these dances have been included in the 
Complete Edition of Breitkopf and Hartel. Thus in Series II 
there are 12 minuets and 12 German dances; in Series XXV 
(Supplement), 6 "Landrische Tanze" for two violins and bass, 6 
German dances for pianoforte and violin, and, for pianoforte alone, 
6 German dances, G ecossaises and a few miscellaneous dances; 
in Series X\ III (Small Pieces for Pianoforte) there are minuets 
and 13 "Landrische" (1-6 identical with those numbered 7-18 in 
Series II, but transcribed). There are many dances as yet unpub- 
lished. For instance, among the Artaria IVISS. ])urchase(l by 
Erich Prieger, there are 12 ecossaises, of which (5 are as yet un- 
known, also 12 "Deutsche" for j)ianoforte and (5 miuuets for two 
violins ancl bass, which have never been j)rinl('(l. 'i'lie three 
orchestral dances noted by 'J'hayer in the 'JMieuialic: Catalogue as 
No. 290, of the Artaria collection, are Nos. 3, 9 and II of the 
12 minuets which A. von Perger discovered in the archives of the 
Kiinstler-Pensions-Institut in 1872, and wliirh wcrr published by 
Ileugel in Paris in pianoforte transcription in 1903 and in score ,-ind 
parts in ]f)Of), edited by Chantavoine. 'i'hey were coiiii)osed for 
the Klinstlersocietiit and are now in the Court Ij'br;ir>- al \ ienna. 
(MS. 10,925.) 

'S«-o Vol. II, p. 60, of the revised edition of "Ludwig van Beethoven's Lcben" 
by Thayer, lUlO. 



Chapter XV 



General Bernadotte — His Connection with the "Heroic'* 
Symphony — Rival Pianists — J. Wolffl — Dragonetti and 
Cramer — Compositions of the Years 1798 and 1799. 

EARLY in the year 1798, a political event occurred which 
demands notice here from its connection with one of 
Beethoven's noblest and most original works — the "Sin- 
fonia Eroica." The singular tissue of error which, owing to 
carelessness in observing dates, has been woven in relation to its 
origin may be best destroyed by a simple statement of fact. 

The extraordinary demands made by the French Directory 
upon the Austrian government as preliminary to the renewal of 
diplomatic intercourse, after the peace of Campo Formio — such as 
a national palace and French theatre for the minister and the 
right of jurisdiction over all Frenchmen in the Austrian dominions 
— all of which were rejected by the Imperial government, had 
aroused to a high pitch the public curiosity both as to the man who 
might be selected for the appointment and as to the course he 
might adopt. This curiosity was by no means diminished by the 
intelligence that the new minister was Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, 
the young general who had borne so important a part in the recent 
invasion of Istria. He arrived in Vienna on February 5th, 1798. 
The state of the Empress's health, who was delivered of the Arch- 
dufhess Maria Clementine on the 1st of March, delayed the private 
audience of Bernadotte for the presentation of his credentials to 
the Emperor until the second of that month, and his public audience 
until the 8th of April. During the festivities of the court, which 
then took place, Bernadotte was always present, and a reporter of 
that day says both the Emperor and Empress held more conver- 
sation with him than with any other of the "cercle." This familiar 
intercourse, however, came speedily to an end; for on the 13th 
Bernadotte had the rashness to display the hated tricolor from his 
balcony and to threaten to defend it by force. A riot occurred, 
and it was thought that in the extreme excitement of popular feeling 

[212] 



Bernadotte and the Heroic Sysiphony 213 

nothing but the strong detachments of cavalry and infantry de- 
tailed for his protection saved his life — saved it to ascend the throne 
of Sweden on the twentieth anniversary of his arrival in Vienna! 

Since etiquette allowed a foreign minister neither to make nor 
receive visits in his public capacity until after his formal reception 
at court, the General, during the two months of his stay, except 
the last five days, "lived very quietly." Those who saw him 
praised him as "well behaved, sedate and modest." In his train 
was Rudolph Kreutzer, the great violinist. 

Bernadotte had now just entered his 34th year; Kreutzer was 
in his 32nd; both of them, therefore, in age, as in tastes and ac- 
quirements, fitted to appreciate the splendor of Beethoven's ge- 
nius and to enjoy his society. Moreover, as the Ambassador was 
the son of a provincial advocate, there was no difference of rank 
by birth, which could prevent them from meeting upon equal terms. 
Under such circumstances, and remembering that just at that 
epoch the young General Bonaparte was the topic of universal 
wonder and admiration, one is fully prepared for the statement of 
Schindler upon the origin of the "Heroic" Symphony: 

The first idea for the symphony is said to have gone out from 
General Bernadotte, then French Ambassador in Vienna, who esteemed 
Beethoven very highly. This I heard from several of Beethoven's 
friends. I was also told so by Count Moritz Lichnowsky (brother of 
Prince Lichnowsky), who was often in the society of Bernadotte with 
Beethoven. . . . 

Again in 1823: 

Beethoven had a lively recollection that Bernadotte had really 
first inspired him with the idea of the "Eroica" Symphony. 

This is from Schindler's work in its first form. His unfortu- 
nate propensity sometimes to accept the illusions of his fancy for 
matters of fact is exliibited in the corresponding passage in his 
third edition: 

In Bcrnuflotte's salon, which was opvn to notal)iliti('s of all ranks 
of life, Beethoven also ai)i>eare(i. II<; hud already m:uU'. it known that 
he was a great admirer of the First Consul of the Rej)Mhlie. From the 
General emanated the SMgf,'estion tliat Beethoven e<'lcl)r;il<' flw' ^'rratest 
hero of his a^e in a musical com|)osition. It was not long (!) before the 
thought had become a deed. (Vol. I, page 101.) 

In proceeding with the history of the Syinf)hony, Schindler 
extracts largely from Beethoven's own copy of Sc]ilei(>nnac}ier's 
translation of Plato. That the idea of Bonaparte as First Consul 



21 -i The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

may have influenced the form and matter of the Symphony, when 
he came to the hibor of its composition, and that Beethoven may 
liavc based for liimself a sort of system of political ethics upon 
Schloiorniacher's Plato — all this is very possible; but Bernadotte 
was far away from Vienna before the consular form of government 
was adopted at Paris, and the "Sinfonia Eroica" had been pub- 
licly performed at Vienna before the Plato came from the Berlin 
press ! 

It is certainly to be regretted that so much fine writing by 
Scliindler and his copyists on this point should be exploded by a 
date — like a ship by a single shell; but how could anyone believe 
that the much-employed Beethoven, at the age of 27, he who had 
refused two years before, even despite Wegeler's urging, to listen 
to a single private lecture on Kant, had become in so short a time 
a Platonic philosopher? 

Let us return to a field where Beethoven was even now more 
at home than he ever became in Plato's political philosophy. 
Salieri had again engaged him for the "Widows and Orphans" 
concerts of April 1st and 2nd at which Haydn's "Seven Last Words" 
was sung and Beethoven's Pianoforte Quintet played. Kaiser 
Franz and the imperial family were present. 

It was now no longer the case that Beethoven was without a 
rival as pianoforte virtuoso. He had a competitor fully worthy of 
his powers; one who divided about equally with him the suffrages 
of the leaders in the Vienna musical circles. In fact the excellencies 
peculiar to the two were such and so different, that it depended 
upon the taste of the auditor to which he accorded the praise of 
superiority. Joseph Wolffl of Salzburg, two years younger than 
Beethoven, a "wonder-child," who had played a violin concerto 
in public at the age of seven years, was a pupil of Leopold Mozart 
and Michael Haydn. Being in Vienna, when but eighteen years 
old, he was engaged, on the recommendation of Mozart, by the 
Polish count Oginsky, who took him to Warsaw. His success 
there, as pianoforte virtuoso, teacher and composer, was almost 
unexampled. But it is only in his character as pianist that we 
have to do with him; and a reference may be made to the general 
principle, that a worthy competition is the best spur to genius. 
When we read in one of his letters Beethoven's words "I have also 
greatly perfected my pianoforte playing," they will cause no sur- 
prise; for only by severe industry and consequent improvement 
could he retain his high position, in the presence of such rivals as 
Wolffl and, a year or two later, J. B. Cramer. A lively picture of 
Wolffl by Tomaschek, who heard him in 1799, in his autobiography 



Rivalry of Beethoven and Wolffl 21 



o 



sufficiently proves that his party in Vienna was composed of those 
to whom extraordinary execution was the main thing; while Beet- 
hoven's admirers were of those who had hearts to be touched. A 
parallel between Beethoven and Wolffl in a letter to the "Allgemeine 
Musikalische Zeitung" (Vol. I, pp. 24, 25) dated April 22, 1799, just 
at the time when the performances of both were topics of general 
conversation in musical circles, and still fresh in the memory of 
all who had heard them, is in the highest degree apposite to the 
subject of this chapter. The writer says: 

Opinion is divided here touching the merits of the two; yet it 
would seem as if the majority were on the side of the latter (WolflB). 
I shall try to set forth the peculiarities of each without taking part in 
the controversy. Beethoven's playing is extremely brilliant but has 
less delicacy and occasionally he is guilty of indistinctness. He shows 
himself to the greatest advantage in improvisation, and here, indeed, 
it is most extraordinary with what lightness and yet firmness in the 
succession of ideas Beethoven not only varies a theme given him on 
the spur of the moment by figuration (with which many a virtuoso makes 
his fortune and — wind) but really develops it. Since the death of 
Mozart, who in this respect is for me still the non plus ultra, I have 
never enjoyed this kind of pleasure in the degree in which it is provided 
by Beethoven. In this Wolffl fails to reach him. But W. has advan- 
tages in this that, sound in musical learning and dignified in his compo- 
sitions, he plays passages which seem impossible with an ease, precision 
and clearness which cause amazement (of course he is helped here by 
the large structure of his hands) and that his interpretation is always, 
especially in Adagios, so pleasing and insinuating tiiat one can not 

only admire it but also enjoy That Wolffl likewise enjoys an 

advantage because of his amiable bearing, contrasted with the some- 
what haughty pose of Beethoven, is very natural. 

No biography of Beethoven which makes any pretence to 
completeness, can omit the somewhat inflated and bombastic 
account which Seyfried gives of the emulation between Beethoven 
and Wolffl. Ignatz von Seyfried at the period in cpiestion was one 
of Schikaneder's conductors, to which position he had been called 
when not quite twenty-one years of age, and had assumed its 
duties March 1, 1797. lie was among the most promising of (he 
young composers of the capital, belonged to a highly respectable 
family, had been educated at tlie University, and his personal char- 
acter was unblemished. He would, therefore, naturally have access 
to the musical salons and his reminiscences of music and musicians 
in those years may be accei)ted as the records of observation. The 
unfavorable light which the researches of Nottebolun have thrown 
upon him as editor of the so-called "Beethoven Shidien" does not 
extend to such statements of fact as might easily have come under 



216 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

his own cognizance; and the passage now cited from the appendix 
of the "Studien," though written thirty years after the events it 
describes, bears all the marks of being a faithful transcript of the 
writer's own memories: 

Beethoven had already attracted attention to himself by several 
compositions and was rated a first-class pianist in Vienna when he was 
confronted by a rival in the closing years of the last century. Thereupon 
there was, in a way, a revival of the old Parisian feud of the Gluckists 
and Piccinists, and the many friends of art in the Imperial City arrayed 
themselves in two parties. At the head of Beethoven's admirers stood 
the amiable Prince Lichnowsky; among the most zealous patrons of 
Wolffl was the broadly cultured Baron Raymond von Wetzlar, whose 
delif,'htful villa (on the Griinberg near the Emperor's recreation-castle) 
offered to all artists, native and foreign, an asylum in the summer months, 
as pleasing as it was desirable, with true British loyalty. There the 
interesting combats of the two athletes not infrequently offered an 
indescribable artistic treat to the numerous and thoroughly select gath- 
ering. Each brought forward the latest product of his mind. Now 
one and anon the other gave free rein to his glowing fancy; sometimes 
they would seat themselves at two pianofortes and improvise alternately 
on themes which they gave each other, and thus created many a four- 
hand Capriccio which if it could have been put upon paper at the moment 
would surely have bidden defiance to time. It would have been difficult, 
perhaps impossible, to award the palm of victory to either one of the 
gladiators in respect of technical skill. Nature had been a particularly 
kind mother to Wolffl in bestowing upon him a gigantic hand which 
could span a tenth as easily as other hands compass an octave, and 
permitted him to play passages of double notes in these intervals with 
the rapidity of lightning. In his improvisations even then Beethoven 
did not deny his tendency toward the mysterious and gloomy. When 
once he began to revel in the infinite world of tones, he was trans- 
ported also above all earthly things; — his spirit had burst all restricting 
bonds, shaken off the yoke of servitude, and soared triumphantly and 
jubilantly into the luminous spaces of the higher aether. Now his 
playing tore along like a wildly foaming cataract, and the conjurer 
constrained his instrument lo an utterance so forceful that the stoutest 
structure was scarcely able to withstand it; and anon he sank down, 
exhausted, exhaling gentle plaints, dissolving in melancholy. Again 
the spirit would soar aloft, triumphing over transitory terrestrial suf- 
ferings, turn its glance upward in reverent sounds and find rest and com- 
fort on the innocent bosom of holy nature. But who shall sound the 
depths of the sea? It was the mystical Sanscrit language whose hiero- 
glyphs can be read only by the initiated. Wolffl, on the contrary, 
trained in the school of Mozart, was always equable; never superficial 
but always clear and thus more accessible to the multitude. He used 
art only as a means to an end, never to exhibit his acquirements. He 
always enlisted the interest of his hearers and inevitably compelled 
them to follow the progression of his well-ordered ideas. Whoever has 
heard Hummel will know what is meant by this. . . . 



ToMASCHEK ON Beethoven's Playing 217 

But for this (the attitude of their patrons) the proteges cared very 
little. They respected each other because they knew best how to appre- 
ciate each other, and as straightforward honest Germans followed the 
principle that the roadway of art is broad enough for many, and that 
it is not necessary to lose one's self in envy in pushing forward for the 
goal of fame! 

Wolffl proved his respect for his rival by dedicating to "M. L. 
van Beethoven" the pianoforte sonatas. Op, 7, which were highly 
commended in the "Allg. Mus. Zeit." of Leipsic of January, 1799. 
Another interesting and valuable discussion of Beethoven's powers 
and characteristics as a pianoforte virtuoso at this period is con- 
tained in the autobiography of Tomaschek, who heard him both in 
public and in private during a visit which Beethoven made again 
this year to Prague. Tomaschek was then both in age (he was 
born on April 17, 1774) and in musical culture competent to form 
an independent judgment on sucli a subject. 

In the year 1798, says Tomaschek (unfortunately without giving any 
clue to the time of the year), in which I continued my juridical studies, 
Beethoven, the giant among pianoforte players, came to Prague. He 
gave a largely attended concert in the Konviktssaal, at which he played 
his Concerto in C major, Op. 15, and the Adagio and graceful Rondo 
in A major from Op. 2, and concluded with an improvisation on a theme 
given him by Countess Sch... (Schick?), "Ah tu fosti il primo oggetto," 
from Mozart's "Titus" (duet No. 7). Beethoven's magnificent playing 
and particularly the daring flights in his improvisation stirred me 
strangely to the depths of my soul; indeed I found myself so profoundly 
bowed down that I did not touch my pianoforte for several days. . . . 
I heard Beethoven at his second concert, which neither in performance 
nor in composition renewed again the first powerful impression. This 
time he played the Concerto in B-flat which he had just composed in 
Prague.' Then I heard him a third time at the home of ('ount C, whore 
he played, besides the graceful Rondo from the A major Sonata, an 
imi)rovisation on the theme: ".Vh! vous dirai-je, Manuui." Tliis time 1 
listened to Beethoven's artistic work with more composure, i admired 
his powerful and brilliant playing, but his frequent daring deviations 
from one motive to another, whereby the organic connection, the 
gr.'idual (lev('lof)ment of idea was put aside, did not escape me. Kyils 
of this nature frequently weaken his greatest compositions, those which 
sprang from a too exuberant conception. It is not seldom I hat the 
unbiassed listener is ruddy awakened from his transport. 'Hk; singular 
anfl original seemed to be his chief aim in composition, as is confirmed 
by the answer which he made to a lady who asked him if he often 
attended Mozart's operas. "I do not know them," he replied, *'a»id do 
not care to hear the music of others lest I forfeit some of my originality." 

'It will be seen in a litter of Beethoven's that this concerto was in fact composed 
before that in C major; but it is not improbable that the last movement was written 
in Prague. 



218 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The veteran Tomaschek when he wrote thus had heard all the 
greatest virtuosos of the pianoforte, who, from the days of Mozart 
to 1840, had made themselves famous; and yet Beethoven re- 
mained for him still "the lord of pianoforte players" and "the 
giant among pianoforte players." Still, great as he was now when 
Tomaschek heard him, Beethoven could write three years later that 
he had greatly perfected his playing. 

It is only to be added to the history of the year 1798, that it is 
the time in which Beethoven fixes the beginning of his deafness. 
Like it, the year 1799 offers, upon the whole, but scanty materials 
to the biographers of Beethoven — standing in broad contrast to 
the next and, indeed all succeeding years, in which their quantity 
and variety become a source of embarrassment. 

Two new and valuable, though but passing acquaintances, were 
made by Beethoven this year, however — with Domenico Drago- 
netti, the greatest contrabassist known to history, and John Baptist 
Cramer, one of the greatest pianists. Dragonetti was not more 
remarkable for his astounding execution than for the deep, genuine 
musical feeling which elevated and ennobled it. He was now — 
the spring of 1799, so far as the means are at hand of determining 
the time — returning to London from a visit to his native province, 
and his route taking him to Vienna he remained there for several 
weeks. Beethoven and he soon met and they were mutually 
pleased with each other. Many years afterwards Dragonetti re- 
lated the following anecdote to Samuel Appleby, Esq., of Brighton, 
England: "Beethoven had been told that his new friend could exe- 
cute violoncello music upon his huge instrument, and one morning, 
when Dragonetti called at his room, he expressed his desire to hear 
a sonata. The contrabass was sent for, and the Sonata, No. 2, 
of Op. 5, was selected. Beethoven played his part, with his eyes 
immovably fixed upon his companion, and, in the finale, where the 
arpeggios occur, was so delighted and excited that at the close he 
sprang up and threw his arms around both player and instrument." 
The unlucky contrabassists of orchestras had frequent occasion 
during the next few years to know that this new revelation of the 
powers and possibilities of their instrument to Beethoven, was not 
forgotten. 

Cramer, born at Mannheim, 1771, but from early infancy 
reared and educated in England, was successively the pupil of the 
noted Bensor, Schroeter and Clementi; but, like Beethoven, was 
in no small degree self-taught. He was so rarely and at such long 
intervals on the Continent that his extraordinary merits have never 
been fully understood and appreciated there. Yet for a period of 



Cil\mer's Recollections of Beethoven 219 

many years in the first part of the nineteenth century he was un- 
doubtedly, upon the whole, the first pianist of Europe, The object 
of his tour in 1799 was not to display his own talents and acquire- 
ments, but to add to his general musical culture and to profit by 
his observations upon the styles and peculiar characteristics of the 
great pianists of the Continent. In Vienna he renewed his inter- 
course with Haydn, whose prime favorite he had been in England, 
and at once became extremely intimate with Beethoven. 

Cramer surpassed Beethoven in the perfect neatness, correct- 
ness and finish of his execution; Beethoven assured him that he 
preferred his touch to that of any other player; his brilliancy was 
astonishing; but yet taste, feeling, expression, were the qualities 
which more eminently distinguished him. Beethoven stood far 
above Cramer in power and energy, especially when extemporizing. 
Each was supreme in his own sphere; each found much to learn in 
the perfections of the other; each, in later years, did full justice to 
the other's powers. Thus Ries says: "Amongst the pianoforte 
players he [Beethoven] had praise for but one as being distin- 
guished — John Cramer. All others were but little to him." On 
the other hand, Mr. Appleby, who knew Cramer well, was long 
afterwards told by him, "No man in these days has heard 
extempore playing, unless he has heard Beethoven." 

Making a visit one morning to him, Cramer, as he entered the 
anteroom, heard Beethoven extemporizing by himself, and re- 
mained there more than half an hour "completely entranced," 
never in his life having heard such exquisite effects, sucJi 
beautiful combinations. Knowing Beethoven's extreme dislike 
to being listened to on such occasions, Cramer retired and never 
let him know that lie had so heard him. 

Cramer's widow communicates a pleasant anecdote. At an 
Augarten Concert the two pianists were walking togetlior and hear- 
ing a performance of Mozart's pianoforte Concerto in C minor 
(Kcichel, No. 491); Beethoven suddenly stood still and, directing 
his c()my)ani()n's attention to the exceedingly simple, but (Miually 
beautiful motive which is first introduced towards tlu; end of the 
piece, exclaimed: "Cramer, Cramer! we shall never be able to do 
anything like that!" As the theme was repeated and \\ ron^jil up 
to the climax, Beethoven, swaying his body to and fro, marked 
the time and in every j)ossil)le manner manifested a delighl rising 
to enthusiasm. 

ScJiindler's record of his conversations upon lieellioven with 
Cramer and Chenibini in IS-H is interesting and vahiable. He 
has, however, left one important consideration unnoticed, namely, 



•220 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

t}iat the visits of those masters to Vienna were five years 
apart — five years of great change in Beethoven — a period during 
wliich his deafness, too slight to attract Cramer's attention, had 
increased to a degree beyond conceahnent, and which, joined to his 
increased devotion to composition and compulsory abandonment 
of all ambition as a virtuoso, with consequent neglect of practice, 
had affected his execution unfavorably. Hence the difference in 
the opinions of such competent judges as Cramer, describing him 
as he was in 1799-1800, Cherubini in 1805-6, and two years later 
Clementi, afford a doubtless just and fair indication of the decline 
of Beethoven's powers as a mere pianist — not extending, however, 
at least for some years yet, to his extemporaneous performances. 
We shall find from Ries and others ample confirmation of the fact. 
And now let Schindler speak: 

To the warm feeling of Cramer for Beethoven I owe the more 
important matters. . . . Cherubini, disposed to be curt, characterized 
Beethoven's pianoforte playing in a single word: "rough." The gentle- 
man Cramer, however, desired that less offence be taken at the rudeness 
of his performance than at the unreliable reading of one and the same 
composition — one day intellectually brilliant and full of characteristic 
expression, the next freakish to the verge of unclearness; often confused. 
(Which is confirmed by Ries, Czerny and others.) Because of this a 
few friends expressed a wish to hear Cramer play several works publicly 
from the manuscript. This touched a sensitive spot in Beethoven; 
his jealousy was aroused and, according to Cramer, their relations be- 
came strained. 

This strain, however, left no such sting behind it as to diminish 
Cramer's good opinion of Beethoven both as man and artist, or 
hinder his free expression of it. To this fact the concurrent testi- 
mony of his widow and son, and those enthusiasts for Beethoven 
Charles Neate, Cipriani Potter and others who knew Cramer well, 
bear witness. It was the conversation of Cramer about Beethoven 
which induced Potter, after the fall of Napoleon, to journey to 
Vienna, to make the acquaintance of the great master and, if 
possible, become his pupil. 

Cramer's musical gods were Handel and Mozart, notwith- 
standing his life-long love for Bach's clavier compositions; hence 
the abrupt transitions, the strange modulations, and the, until 
then, unheard passages, which Beethoven introduced ever more 
freely into his works — many of which have not yet found universal 
acceptance — were to him, as to Tomaschek and so many other of 
his contemporaries, imperfections and distortions of compositions, 
which but for them were models of beauty and harmonious propor- 
tion. He once gave this feeling utterance with comic exaggeration. 



Beethoven's Demeanor in Society 221 

when Potter, then a youth, was extolling some abstruse combina- 
tions, by saying: "If Beethoven emptied his inkstand upon a piece 
of music paper you would admire it!" 

Upon Beethoven's demeanor in society, Schindler proceeds 
thus: 

The communications of both (Cramer and Madame Cherubini) 
agreed in saying that in mixed society his conduct was reserved, stiff 
and marked by artist's pride; whereas among his intimates he was droll, 
lively, indeed, voluble at times, and fond of giving play to all the arts 
of wit and sarcasm, not always wisely especially in respect of political 
and social prejudices. To this the two were able to add much concerning 
his awkwardness in taking hold of such objects as glasses, coffee cups, 
etc., to which Master Cherubini added the comment: "Toujours 
brusque." These statements confirmed what I had heard from his older 
friends touching the social demeanor of Beethoven in general. 

Cramer reached Vienna early in September, and remained 
there, according to Schindler, through the following winter; but 
he does not appear to have given any public concerts, although, 
during the first month of his stay, we learn from a newspaper, he 
"earned general and deserved applause by his playing." It is 
needless to dwell upon the advantages to Beethoven of constant 
intercourse for several months with a master like Cramer, whose 
noblest characteristics as pianist were the same as ]Mozart's, and 
precisely those in which Beethoven was deficient. 



Let us pass in review the compositions whicli had their origin 
in the years 1798 and 17!)0. First of all couu' the three Trios lor 
stringed instruments, Op. 9. The exact date of their conception 
lias not yet been deteniiined, all that is positive being that Beet- 
hoven sold tliem to 'JVaeg on March 1(5, 1798, and that the pub- 
lisher's announcement of them appeared on July 21st of the same 
year. The only sketches for tlie Trios (pioted by Notteboluu show 
them in connection with a sketch for the last movement of the 
"Sonate pathetique," which was |)tiblis]i('d in 1799; but this proves 
nothing. It may l)e easily imagiru'd that Beethoven desired to 
make more extended use of tlu^ cx[)erieiiee gained in writing the 
Trios, Op. 3, and that he therefore began sketching Op. 9 in 17!)(> 
or 1797. Beethoven dedicated the works to Count Browne in 
words such as could hardly have been called forth by the present 
of a horse. Perhaps .some future investigator will be al>le to show 
upon what grounds Beethoven in the dedication called Count 



'22'2 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Browne his "first Maecenas," a title better deserved by Prince 
Liclinowsky. 

The first two concertos for pianoforte call for consideration 
here, for it was not until 1798 that they acquired the form in which 
they are now known. That the Concerto in B-flat was the earlier 
of the two has been proved in a preceding chapter of this volume. 
It was this Concerto and not the one in C major (as Wegeler incor- 
rectly reported) that was played in March, 1795. Wegeler's error 
was due to the circumstance that the Concerto in C was published 
first. Sketches for the Concerto in B-flat major are found among 
the exercises written for Albrechtsberger, sketches for the Sonata 
in E major (Op. 14, No. 1), and others for a little quartet movement 
which was owned by M. Malherbe of Paris; on this sheet occurs 
a short exercise with the remark "Contrapunto all' ottava" which 
points to the beginning of 1795 or even 1794. The sketch is an 
obviously early form of a passage in the free fantasia. This agrees 
with the statement that on March 29, 1795, Beethoven played a 
new concerto, the key of which is not indicated. It is most likely 
that it was this in B-flat, since the one in C did not exist at the 
time. Beethoven, it appears, played it a few times afterward in 
Vienna and then rewrote it. According to Tomaschek's account 
he played the B-flat Concerto (expressly distinguished from that in 
C) in 1798, again in Prague. Tomaschek added, "which he had 
composed in Prague." This is confounding the original version 
with the revision, concerning which Nottebohm gives information 
in his "Zweite Beethoveniana" on the basis of sketches which 
point to 1798. The fact of the revision is proved by Beethoven's 
memoranda, such as "To remain as it was," "From here on every- 
thing to remain as it w^as." The revision of the first movement was 
radical, and the entire work was apparently undertaken in view of 
an imminent performance, most likely that of Prague in 1798. 
It was published by Hoffmeister und Klihnel and dedicated to 
Carl Nikl Edlen von Nikelsberg. 

That the Concerto in C was composed later than that in B-flat 
has been proved by Beethoven's testimony as well as other external 
evidences and is confirmed by the few remaining sketches analyzed 
by Nottebohm. They appear in connection with a sketch for the 
cadenza for the B-flat Concerto which, therefore, must have been 
finished when its companion was begun. A sketch for a cadenza 
for the C major Concerto comes after sketches for the Sonata in 
D, Op. 10, No. 3, which w^as published in 1798. This new concerto 
must, therefore, have been finished. According to the testimony 
of Tomaschek he played it in 1798 in the Konviktsaal in Prague. 



The First Two Pl\xoforte Coxxertos 2^23 

Schindler says he played it for the first time "in the spring of ISOO 
in the Karnthnerthor-Theater," but this concert is likely to have 
been that of April 2nd, 1800, described by Hanslick in his "Ge- 
schichte des Concertwesens in "NYien" (p. 127). Schindler evidently 
knew nothing of the performance in Prague and a confusion must 
be at the bottom of Czerny's statement that the Concerto was 
played in the Karnthnerthor-Theater in 1801. The Concerto in 
C, dedicated to the Countess Odescalchi, nee Keglevich, was pub- 
lished by Mollo in Vienna in 1801. There are three cadenzas for 
the first movement of the Concerto, the last two of whicJi call for 
an extended compass of the pianoforte and are thus shown to be 
of later date than the first. 

To these concertos must be added the Rondo in B-flat for 
Pianoforte and Orchestra found unfinished among Beethoven's 
compositions and published by Diabelli and Co. in 1829. Sonn- 
leithner, on the authority of Diabelli, says it was com])leted by 
Czerny, who also filled out the accompaniment. There is no 
authentic record of the time of its composition, O. Jahn surmised 
that it may have been designed for the Concerto in B-flat. Its 
contents indicate an earlier period. A sketch ])rinte(l by Xotte- 
bohm associated with a Romanza for Pianoforte, Flute and lias- 
soon, judged by the handwriting, is not of later date than 17!)5. 
E. Mandyczewski compared the original manuscript, now in the 
library of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, witli the printed form 
and decided that the work was completed in plan and vwtivi l)y 
Beethoven, who, however, did not carry out the caden/as aiid only 
indicated the passages. The share which Czerny had in it is thus 
indicated; he added the cadenzas and extended the i)iau()r(»rle 
passages which Beethoven had only indicated, making them more 
effective and brilliant. The use of the high registers of tlu- ])iaiio- 
forte, which Czerny employs somewhat too freely in view of Ih.- 
simple character of the piece, was not contemplal<'d l)y Beethoven, 
who once remarked of Czerny: "He uses the piccolo too much for 
me." In Mandyczewski's oplniim the handwriliiig points to a 
time before 1800, and the contents indicate the early X'ieima if not 
the Bonn period. Mandyczewski also thinks that the roinanza- 
like Andante is palpably a very early compositicm and that the 
correspondence in key and measure willi the B-flat Coneerlo nu-iil 
indicate that it was originally designed as a part of that work, a snj)- 
position which is strengthened l)y the fact that tlie ongnial manu- 
script is neither dated nor signed. This internal evidenee has nuieh 
in its favor, the more since it is not at all obvious what might hav<' 
prompted Beethoven to writ(> an independent rondo for cone.-rt 



2'2-i The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

use. There is no external evidence; if there were, the conception 
of tJie B-flat Concerto would have to be set at a much earlier 
date than has yet been done. The first Vienna sketches for the 
Concerto, as Nottebohm shows, prove that the present three move- 
ments belonged together from the beginning. They were, there- 
fore, surely played at the first performance in 1795. Nottebohm, 
who repeated Jahn's surmise in his "Thematisches Verzeichniss," 
changed his mind after a study of the sketches and rejected the 
notion that the rondo had been designed for the Concerto. Only 
by assuming an earlier date for the rondo can the theory be upheld. 
Attention may here be called to Wegeler's statement ("Notizen," 
p. 56) that the rondo of the first Concerto (he says, of course, the 
Concerto in C) was not composed until the second afternoon before 
the performance. There may possibly have been another. This 
is not necessarily disproved by the fact that sketches for the present 
one were in existence. The question is not settled by the evidence 
now before us, but the probabilities are with Mandyczewski. 

Now begins the glorious series of sonatas. The first were the 
three (Op. 10) which, though begun in part at an earlier date, were 
definitively finished and published in 1798. Eder, the publisher, 
opened a subscription for them by an advertisement in the "Wiener 
Zeitung," July 5th, 1798; therefore they were finished at that 
time. The sketching for them had begun in 1796, as appears from 
Nottebohm's statement,^ and Beethoven worked on the three 
simultaneously. Sketches for the first movement of the first Sonata 
are mixed with sketches for the soprano air for Umlauf's "Schusterin" 
which have been attributed to 1796, and the Variations for three 
AVind-Instruments which were played in 1797. Sketches for the 
third sonata are found among notes for the Sextet for Wind-instru- 
ments (composed about 1796) and also for the Concerto in C minor, 
which, therefore, was begun thus early, and for one of the seven 
country dances which appeared in 1799, or perhaps earlier. The 
sketches for the last movement of No, 3 are associated alone with 
sketches for a cadenza for the C major Concerto which Beethoven 
played in Prague in 1798, and may therefore be placed in this 
year. It follows that the three sonatas were developed gradually 
in 1796-98, and completed in 1798. From the sketches and the 
accompanying memoranda^ we learn, furthermore, that for the first 
Sonata, which now has three movements, a fourth, an Intermezzo, 

'"Zweite Beethoveniana," p. 29 et seq. 

'Among sketches for the second movement of the Quintet, Op. 16, Beethoven 
wrote: "For the new sonatas very short minuets. The Scherzo remains for that in 
C minor." And in another sketch he writes: "Intermezzo for the sonata in C minor." 
—Nottebohm, "Zweite Beethoveniana," 32, 479. 



Composition of the "Sonate Pathetique" 225 

was planned on which Beethoven several times made a beginning 
but permitted to fall. Two of these movements became known 
afterwards as "Bagatelles." ^Ve learn also that the last movement 
of the first Sonata, and the second movement of the second, were 
originally laid out on a larger scale. 

The "Sonate pathetique," Op. 13, was published by Eder, in 
Vienna, in 1799, and afterwards by Hoffmeister, who announced 
them on December 18 of the same year. Sketches for tlie rondo 
are found among those for the Trio, Op. 9, and after the beginning 
of a fair copy of the Sonata, Op. 49, No. 1. From this there is no 
larger deduction than that the Sonata pro])ably had its origin 
about 1798. One of the sketches, however, indicates that tlie last 
movement was originally conceived for more than one instrument, 
probably for a sonata for pianoforte and violin. Beethoven pub- 
lished the two Sonatas, Op. 14, which he dedicated to the Baroness 
Braun, immediately after the "Sonate pathetique." They came 
from the press of Mollo and were announced on Decemlier 21, 
1799. The exact time of their composition cannot be determined 
definitely. Up to the present time no sketches for tlie second are 
known to exist; copious ones for the first, however, are publislied 
by Nottebohm in his "Zweite Beethoveniana" (p. 45 et scq.), some 
of which appear before sketches for the Sonata, Op. 12, No. 3, then 
approaching completion, and some after sketches for the Concerto 
in B-flat. Because of this juxtaposition, Nottebohm places the 
conception of the Sonata in 1795. 

Touching the history of the Trio, Op. 11, for Pianoforte, 
Clarinet and Violoncello, little is known. It was advertised as 
wholly new by Mollo and Co. on October 3, 1798, and is inscribccl 
to the Countess Tlnm. Sketches associated with works that ;ire 
unknown or were never completed are in tJie 15rilish INluseuin ami 
set forth by Nottebohm in his "Zweite lieethoveniaiia" (|). 
515). The sketch for the Adagio reseinbU'S the begiiuiiiig of the 
minuet in the Sonata, Op. 4!), No. 2, and is changed later; this 
points a])pro\iinately to 179S. The last movement consists of a 
series of variations on tlu; theme of a trio from \N eigl's opera 
"L'Amor marinaro," beginning "l*ria ch'io I'inipegno." AVeigKs 
opera was |)erformed for tin; first, time on October l.">. 1797. 
Czerny told Otto Jahn tliat lieethoven took tlie tli<iiie at ilw re- 
quest of a clarinet jjlaycr (Beer?) for whom Ik* wrote llie 'I no. 
The elder Artaria told Cipriani J\)tter in 1797, tliat he liad given 
the theme to Beethoven and recpiested him to introdnee variations 
on it into a trio, and added tliat Heetjioven did not know that tli<' 
melody was Weigl's until after the Trio was finished, whereui)on 



226 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

he ?rew very angry on finding it out. Czerny says in the supple- 
ment to his "Pianoforte School": 

It was at the wish of the clarinet player for whom Beethoven 
wrote this Trio that he employed the above theme by Weigl (which was 
then very popular) as the finale. At a later period he frequently con- 
templated writing another concluding movement for this Trio, and letting 
the variations stand as a separate work. 

If Czerny is correct in his statement, obvious deductions from 
it are these, which are scarcely consistent with Artaria's story: if 
the theme was "very popular" at the time the opera must have 
had several performances, and it is not likely that the melody was 
unfamiliar to Beethoven, who also, it may be assumed, wrote the 
title of AYeigl's trio, which is printed at the beginning of the last 
movement of Beethoven's composition. Beethoven produced the 
Trio for the first time at the house of Count Fries on the occasion 
of his first meeting with Steibelt. The three Sonatas for Pianoforte 
and Violin, Op. 12, were advertised in the "Wiener Zeitung" of 
January 12, 1799, as published by Artaria, which would seem to 
place their origin in 1798. The program of a concert given by 
Madame Duschek on March 29, 1798, preserved in the archives of 
the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, announces a sonata with accom- 
paniment to be played by Beethoven. The accompanying {obbli- 
gato) instrument is not mentioned, but the work may well have 
been one of these Sonatas. Nottebohm discusses the juxtaposition 
of sketches for the second Sonata with sketches for the Pianoforte 
Concerto in B-flat and the sonata in E, Op. 14, No. 1, and is in- 
clined to fix 1795 as the year of the sonata's origin. But we are in 
the dark as to whether the sketches for the Pianoforte Concerto 
were for its original or its revised form. 

Among the instrumental compositions of this year belong 
the Variations for Pianoforte and Violoncello on "Ein Madchen 
oder AVeibchen" from Mozart's "Zauberflote," of which nothing 
more is known than that Traeg announced their publication on 
September 12, 1798. They were afterward taken over by Artaria. 
The Variation for Pianoforte on a theme from Gretry's "Richard, 
Cceur de Lion" ("Une fievre brulante") were announced as newly 
published on November 7, 1798, by Traeg; Cappi and Diabelli 
acquired them later. Sketches for them are found by the side 
of sketches for the first movement of the Sonata in C minor, 
Op. 10, No. 1, which circumstance indicates that 1796 was 
the year of their origin. According to Sonnleithner, "Richard, 
Coeur de Lion" was first performed at the Hof theater, Vienna, on 



The Period of the First Sy^iphoxy 227 

January 7, 1788; then again on June 13, 1799 in the Theater auf 
den ^Yieden; but a ballet, "Richard Lowenherz," by Vigano, music 
by Weigl, in which Gretry's romance, "Une fievre brulante," was 
interpolated, was brought forward on July 2, 1795, in the Hof- und 
Nationaltheater and repeated often in that year, and it was thence, 
no doubt, that the suggestion for the variations came to Beet- 
hoven. The six little Variations on a Swiss air were published, 
according to Nottebohm, by Simrock in Bonn in 1798. The ten 
Variations on "La stessa, la stessissima" from Salieri's "Falstaff, 
ossia le tre Burle," were announced as just published in the 
"Wiener Zeitung" of March 2, 1799. Salieri's opera was performed 
on January 3 (^Ylassak says January 6), 1799, in the Hoftheater; 
Beethoven's, therefore, was an occasional composition conceived 
and produced in a very short time. Sketches are found among 
some for the first Quartet, Op. 18, and others. The Variations 
are dedicated to the Countess Babette Keglevich. Twice more in 
the same year operatic productions induced similar works. The 
publication of the Variations on "Kind, willst du ruhig schlafon?" 
from Winter's "Unterbrochenes Opferfest," was announced in the 
"Wiener Zeitung" of December 21, 1799, by Mollo and Co.; the 
opera had its first performance in Vienna on June 15, 1790, and was 
repeated frequently within the years immediately following — six 
times in 1799. In this case also it may be assumed that publica- 
tion followed hard on the heels of composition. Sketches are found 
in companionship with others belonging to the Quartet, Op. IH, No. 
5, and the Septet. The Variations on "Tiindeln und Scherzen/'frorn 
Sussmayr's opera "Soliman II, oder diedrei Sultaninnen," belong 
to the same time. The opera was performed on October 1, 179!), 
in the Hoftheater; the publication of the variations by Ilofrineister 
was announced in the "Wiener Zeitung" on December IS, 1 ?!):>. 
They may have been printed previously by Eder. They were drdi- 
cated to Countess Browne, nee von Bietingholf. It is intcn-stiiig 
to learn from Czerny that these Variations were the first of Beet- 
hoven's compositions which the master gave him to study when 
he became his pupil. Before them h<' had pieces by C. 1*. E, Bacli 
and after them the "Sonate i)at]ieti(iue." 

As evidence pointing to the period in which the first Symphony 
was written we have, first of all, the report of the first j)erforjnance 
on April 2, 1800; but inasmuch as the copying of the i)arts and the 
rehearsals must have consumed a considerable time, the period 
would be much too short (especially in view of Beethoven's nn-f hod 
of working) if we were also to assuni<* that the Symphony originated 
in 1800. It is verv likelv that, with the Quartets, it was sketched 



'■2'IS The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

at an earlier period and worked out in the main by 1799 at the 
hitest. It was published toward the end of 1801 by HoflFmeister 
and Kiihnel as Op. 21, dedicated to Baron van Swieten and adver- 
tised in the "Wiener Zeitung" of January 16, 1802. Beethoven 
had already planned a symphony while studying with Albrechts- 
berger. Nottebohm reports on his purposes after a study of some 
sketches and from him we learn that the theme of the present last 
movement was originally intended for a first movement. Beet- 
hoven must have worked on this composition in 1794-'95, perhaps 
at the suggestion of van Swieten — a conclusion suggested by the 
fact that the dedication of the first symphony went to him. Beet- 
hoven abandoned this early plan and turned to other ideas for the 
new symphony, but there is no clue as to the precise time when 
this was done. In 1802, Mollo published an arrangement of the 
symphony as a quintet at the same time that Hoffmeister and 
Kiihnel published a like arrangement of the Septet. Beethoven 
published the following protest in the "Wiener Zeitung" of October 
20,1802: 

I believe that I owe it to the public and myself publicly to an- 
nounce that the two Quintets in C major and E-flat major, of which 
the first (taken from a symphony of mine) has been published by Mr. 
Mollo in Vienna, and the second (taken from my familiar Septet, Op. 20) 
by Mr. Hoffmeister in Leipzig, are not original quintets but transcrip- 
tions prepared by the publishers. The making of transcriptions at the 
best is a matter against which (in this prolific day of such things) an 
author must protest in vain; but it is possible at least to demand of the 
publishers that they indicate the fact on the title-page, so that the 
honor of the author may not be lessened and the public be not de- 
ceived. This much to hinder such things in the future. At the same 
time I announce that a new Quintet of mine in C major. Op. 29, will 
shortly be published by Breitkopf and Hartel in Leipzig. 

Mention may here be made in conclusion of the two French 
songs, "Que le temps (jour) me dure" (Rousseau) and "Plaisir 
d'aimer," recovered from sketches and described by Jean Chanta- 
voine in "Die Musik" (Vol. I, No. 12, 1902). The origin of the 
latter is fixed in 1799, by its association with a sketch for the 
Quartets, Op. 18. 



Chapter XVI 

Beethoven's Social Life in Vienna — His Friends: Vogl, 
Kiesewetter, Zmeskall, Amenda, Count Lichnowsky, Ep- 
pinger, Krumpholz — Schuppanzigh and His Quartet — 
Hummel — Friendships with Women — His Dedications. 

THE chronological progress of the narrative must again be 
interrupted for a chapter or two, since no picture of a man's 
life can be complete without the lights or shades arising 
from his social relations — without some degree of knowledge 
respecting those with whom he is on terms of equality and intimacy 
and whose company he most affects. The attempt to draw such 
a picture in the case of Beethoven, that is, during his first years in 
Vienna, leaves much to be desired, for, altliough the searcli for 
materials has not been very unsuccessful, many of the data are 
but vague and scattered notices. In a Conversation Book, bearing 
Beethoven's own date "on the 20th of March, 18"20," some person 
unknown writes: 

Do you want to know where I first had the honor and pood fortune 
to see you? More than 25 years apo I HvihI with Fniiik of lVat,Mio in 
the Drachenf^assel in the old Fish Market. Several n<»l)l«'iii<-ii, for 
instance His Excellency van li. Oistcn (?j, Heinerle, Vo^'l (n<»\v a sinp«'r). 
Kosswetter, basso, now Court Councillor, Greycnstein {?), has long been 
living in France, etc. There we often 

musicicised, etc. 
sui)[)<Tiz<Ml, etc. 
punciii/.ed, etc. 

and at the conclusion Your Kxcdlcncy often rejoiced us at mi/ l\ F. 
I was then Court (Councillor in the War Office {?). I h.'ive pnulifUMl 
since then at least 1.'5 thousand metiers — Did we meet in l*nigue? In 
what year? — 1796 — 3 days — 1 was in Prague also in MUO-l-'i. 

There is notliiiig in the portions of this Conversation Hook. 
copied for tliis work, tosliow who this man of "1. 3 thonsan<l nn'tiers" 
was, now sitting with Beetlioven in an cating-liouse, and recalling 

[ ii9 I 



^30 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

to liis memory the frolics of his first year and a quarter in Vienna; 
nor are Heinerle, Cristen, Greyenstein and Frank of Prague suffi- 
ciently known to fame as to be now identified ; but Johann Michael 
Vogl, less than two years older than Beethoven, was afterward 
a very celebrated tenor of the opera. In 1793-4 he was still pursuing 
the study of jurisprudence, which he abandoned in 1795 for the 
stage. May not this early friendship for Beethoven have been 
among the causes of the resuscitation of "Fidelio" in 1814, for the 
benefit performance of Vogl, Saal and Weinmuller.'* 

There is a story, first put in circulation by a certain August 
Barth, to the effect that the singer of that name once finding 
Beethoven employed in burning a mass of musical and other papers, 
sang one vocal piece thus destined to destruction, was pleased with 
it, and saved the immortal "Adelaide!" The story is suflBciently 
refuted by the fact that when Barth first came to Vienna, in 1807, 
the "Adelaide" had been in print some ten years. If the name Vogl 
be substituted in the tale, there may, perhaps, be so much truth 
in it as this: that he w^as consulted upon the merits of the compo- 
sition by Beethoven, approved it, and first sang it and made it 
known — as he was the first, years afterwards, to sing in public the 
"Erlkonig" and other fine productions of Franz Schubert. The 
"Kosswetter, basso," w^as Raphael George Kiesewetter, who lived 
to be renowned as a writer upon topics of musical history, and to 
play a part in the revival of ancient music in Vienna, not less note- 
wortliy than that of Thibaut in Heidelberg. At the period of the 
"music-making, supping and punch drinking" by the "noblemen" 
in the apartments of Frank of Prague, Kiesewetter was a young 
man of twenty, engaged, like Vogl, in the study of the law. In 
the spring of 1794 — and thus the date of these meetings is deter- 
mined — he received an appointment in the military chancellary, 
and went at once to the headquarters at Schwetzingen on the Rhine. 
More important and valuable during these years, as subsequently, 
was the warm, sincere friendship of Nicolaus Zmeskall von Doma- 
novecz, an official in the Royal Hungarian Court Chancellary. "You 
belong to my earliest friends in Vienna," writes Beethoven in 1816. 
Zmeskall, to quote the words of Sonnleithner, 

was an expert violoncellist, a sound and tasteful composer. Too modest 
to publish his compositions, he willed them to the archives of the Gesell- 
schaft der Musikfreunde. After personal examination I can only give 
assurance that his three string quartets would entitle him to an honor- 
able place among masters of the second rank, and are more deserving to 
be heard than many new things which, for all manner of reasons, we are 
compelled to hear. 



Beethoven's Regard for Zmesk_a.ll 231 

That Zmeskall was a very constant attendant at the musical 
parties of Prince Carl Lichnowsky and frequently took part in 
them, may be seen from Wegeler's record. He was ten years older 
than Beethoven, had been long enough in Vienna to know the best 
society there, into which he was admitted not more because of his 
musical attainments than because of the respectability of his posi- 
tion and character; and was, therefore, what the young student- 
pianist needed most, a friend, who at the same time could l)e to a 
certain degree an authoritative adviser, and at all times was a judi- 
cious one. On the part of Zmeskall there was an instant and hearty 
appreciation of the extraordinary powers of the young stranger 
from the Rhine and a clear anticipation of his splendid artistic 
future. A singular proof of this is the care with whicli lie preserved 
the most insignificant scraps of paper, if Beethoven had written 
a few words upon them; for, certainly, no other motive could liave 
induced him to save many notes of this kind and of no im])ortance 
ten, fifteen, twenty years, as may be seen in the published letters 
of the composer. On the part of Beethoven, there was sincere 
respect for the dignity and gravity of Zmeskall's character, which 
usually restrained him within proper limits in their personal inter- 
course; but he delighted, especially in the earlier period, to give, 
in his notes and letters, full play to his queer fancies and some- 
times extravagant humour. 

Here are a few examples in point: 

To His Well Well Hif,'hest and Bestborn. the Herr von Zmeskall, 
Imperial and Royal as also Royal and Imperial Court Secretary: 

Will His High and Wellborn, His Hcrrn von Zmeskall's Zmeskallity 
have the kindness to say where we can speak to him to-morrow.' 

We are your most damnably 
devoted 

Beethoven. 

My dearest Baron Muckcartdrivcr. 
Je vous suis Men oblige pour voire faiblesse de vos yeux. Moreover 
I forbid vou henceforth to rob mr. of tin? j,'o()d humor into which I occa- 
sionallv "fall, for yesterday your Zmeskall-damanovil/.ian cliallcr made 
me meianclioly. Tlie devil take you; I want none of your moral (pre- 
cepts) for Power is the morality of men who loom above the others 
and it is also mine; and if you be^'in a^ain to-day I'll torment you till 
vou agree that evervthiiiK tliat I do is good and praiseworl liy (for I am 
g<.ing to the Swan— the Ox would be preferable, yet this rests with your 
Zmeskallian I )omanovezian decision (rr.v/wn.vp). 

Adieu Baron Ba. . . .ron. r o n / n o r / o r n / r n o / o n r / 
{vuild quclqiie cHokc from the ohl pawnshop.) 

Mechanical skill was never so developed in Beethoven that 
he could make good pens from goose quills— and the days of other 



25i The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

pons were not yet. When, therefore, he had no one with him to 
aid liini in tliis, he usually sent to Zmeskall for a supply. Of 
the large number of such applications preserved by his friend 
and now scattered in all civilized lands as autographs, here are 
two specimens. 

Best of Music Counts! I beg of you to send me one or a few pens 
of which I am really in great need. As soon as I learn where real good, 
and admirable pens are to be found I will buy some of them. I hope to 
see you at the Swan today. 

Adieu, most precious 

Music Count 

yours etc. 

His Highness von Z. is commanded to hasten a bit with the plucking 

out of a few of his quills (among them, no doubt, some not his own). It 

is hoped that they may not be too tightly grown. As soon as you have 

done all that we shall ask we shall be, with excellent esteem your 

F 

Beethoven. 

Had Zmeskall not carefully treasured these notes, they would 
never have met any eye but his own; it is evident, therefore, that 
he entered fully into their humor, and that it was the same to 
him, whether he found himself addressed as "Baron," "Count," 
"Cheapest Baron," "Music Count," "Baron Muckcartdriver," 
"His Zmeskallian Zmeskallity," or simply "Dear Z." — which last 
is the more usual. He knew his man, and loved him; and these 
"quips and quiddities" were received in the spirit which begat 
tliem. The whole tenor of the correspondence between the two 
shows that Zmeskall had more influence for good upon Beethoven 
than any other of his friends; he could reprove him for faults, 
and check him when in the wrong, without producing a quarrel 
more serious than the one indicated in the protest, above given, 
against interrupting his "good humor." 

As a musician, as well as man and friend, Zmeskall stood high 
in Beethoven's esteem. His apartments. No. 1166, in that huge 
conglomeration of buildings known as the Burgerspital, were for 
a long series of years the scene of a private morning concert, to 
which only the first performers of chamber music and a very 
few guests were admitted. Here, after the rupture with Prince 
Lichnowsky, Beethoven's productions of this class were usually 
first tried over. Not until Beethoven's death did their correspon- 
dence cease. 

Another young man who gained an extraordinary place in 
Beethoven's esteem and affection, and who departed from Vienna 



Esteem axd Affection for Amexda 233 

before anything occurred to cause a breach between them, was 
a certain Karl Amenda, from the shore of the Baltic, who died some 
forty years later as Provost in Courland. He was a good violinist, 
belonged to thecircle of dilettanti which Beethoven so mucli affected, 
and, on parting, received from the composer one of his first attempts 
at quartet composition. His name most naturally suggests itself 
to fill the blank in a letter to Ries, July, 1804, wherein some living 
person, not named, is mentioned as one with whom lie (Beet- 
hoven) "never had a misunderstanding," but he adds "although 
we have known nothing of each other for nearly six years," which 
was not true of Amenda, since letters passed between them in 
1801. The small portion of tlieir written correspondence which 
has been made public shows that their friendship was of tlie ro- 
mantic character once so much the fashion; and a letter of Amenda 
is filled with incense w^hich in our day would bear the name of 
almost too gross flattery. But times change and tastes with them. 
His name appears once in the Zmeskall correspondence, namely, in 
a mutilated note now in the Royal Imperial Court Library, begin- 
ning "My cheapest Baron ! Tell the guitarist to come to me to-day. 
Amenda is to make an Amende (part torn away) whicli lie deserves 
for his bad pauses (torn) provide the guitarist." 

Karl Amenda was born on October 4, 1771, at Lippaikcn in 
Courland. He studied music with his father and Chapelmaster 
Beichtmer, was so good a violinist that he was able to give a con- 
cert at 14 years of age, and continued jiis musical studies after lie 
was matriculated as a student of tlieology at the University of 
Jena. After a three years' course there he set out on a tour, aiul 
reached Vienna in the spring of 1798. There he first became ])re- 
centor for Prince Lobkowitz and afterward niusic-teaclier in tlie 
family of Mozart's widow. How, thereupon, lie became acquainte<l 
with Beethoven we are able to report from a document still in 
the possession of the family, wliicJi bears the snpersfriplion "Mrief 
Account of the Friendly llelafions between L. v. Beethoven and 
Karl Friedrieh Amenda, afterward JVovost at Talsen in Courland, 
written down from oral tradition": 

After tlio romplotlon of his theolo^^'ical stndies K. V. AimcikI.i p>es to 
Vienna, wlicre he several times meets lieel ji<)\etj at llie talile (Tliotc, 
attempts to enter into conversation with him. hut without suercss, .simx; 
Beeth. remains very rhrrri'. After some time Am<-ri(la. who mean- 
while had heeomo nmsie-tcacher at \\w. Iiomk^ of .Mf)/,art's widow, n-(<'iv<-H 
an invitation from a frieri<lly family and there i)lay.s first violin in a 
quartet. While ho was playing somebody turned the pa^'es for him. 
and when lu- turned al)oiit at the finish he was fri^'hten<-t| to sim* Heet- 
hoven, who had taken the trouhle to do this and now withdrew with a 



234 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

bow. The next day the extremely amiable host at the evening party 
appeared and cried out: "What have you done? You have captured 
Beethoven's heart! B. requests that you rejoice him with your company." 
A., much pleased, hurries to B., who at once asks him to play with him. 
This is done and when, after several hours, A. takes his leave, B. accompan- 
ies him to his quarters, where there was music again. As B. jBnally pre- 
pared to go he said to A.: "I suppose you can accompany me." This 
is done, and B. kept A. till evening and went with him to his home late 
at night. From that time the mutual visits became more and more 
numerous and the two took walks together, so that the people in the 
streets when they saw only one of them in the street at once called out: 
"Where is the other one?" A. also introduced Mylich, with whom he 
had come to Vienna, to B., and Mylich often played trios with B. and A. 
His instrument was the second viohn or viola. Once when B. heard 
that Mylich had a sister in Courland who played the pianoforte prettily, 
he handed him a sonata in manuscript with the inscription: "To the 
sister of my good friend Mylich." The manuscript was rolled up and 
tied with a little silk ribbon. B. complained that he could not get along 
on the violin. Asked by A. to try it, nevertheless, he played so fearfully 
that A. had to call out: "Have mercy— quit!" B. quit playing and 
the two laughed till they had to hold their sides. One evening B. ini- 
provised marvellously on the pianoforte and at the close A. said: "It is 
a great pity that such glorious music is born and lost in a moment." 
W^hereupon B.: "There you are mistaken; I can repeat every extempo- 
rization"; whereupon he sat himself down and played it again without 
a change. B. was frequently embarrassed for money. Once he com- 
plained to A.; he had to pay rent and had no idea how he could do it. 
"That's easily remedied," said A. and gave him a theme ("FreudvoU 
und Leidvoll") and locked him in his room with the remark that he must 
make a beginning on the variations within three hours. When A. returns 
he finds B. on the spot but ill-tempered. To the question whether or 
not he had begun B. handed over a paper with the remark: "There's 
your stuff!" (Da ist der Wisch!) A. takes the notes joyfully to B.'s 
landlord and tells him to take it to a publisher, who would pay him hand- 
somely for it. The landlord hesitated at first but finally decided to do 
the errand and, returning joyfully, asks if other bits of paper like that 
were to be had. But in order definitely to relieve such financial needs 
A. advised B. to make a trip to Italy. B. says he is willing but only on 
condition that A. go with him. A. agrees gladly and the trip is practically 
planned. Unfortunately news of a death calls A. back to his home. His 
brother has been killed in an accident and the duty of caring for the 
family devolves on him. With doubly oppressed heart A. takes leave 
of B. to return to his home in Courland. There he receives a letter 
from B. saying: "Since you cannot go along, I shall not go to Italy." 
Later the friends frequently exchanged thoughts by correspondence.^ 

^Amenda returned to his home in Courland in the fall of 1799. The friends 
corresponded with each other for a time, but the majority of Beethoven's letters are 
lost. While a student at the University in Leipzig, Amenda's grandson placed some 
of them in the hands of a publisher at his request and did not get them back. Amenda 
was first a private teacher, became a preacher in Talsen in 1802, provost of the diocese 
of Kadau in 1820, consistorial councillor in 1830 and died on March 8, 1836. A por- 
trait painted in 1808, is preserved in the Beethoven Museum in Bonn. 



Friendship with Count Lichnowsky 235 

Though, as we have learned, it was music which brought 
Beethoven into contact with Amenda, it was the hatter's amiability 
and nobility of character that endeared him to the composer, who 
cherished him as one of his dearest friends and confided things to 
him which he concealed from his other intimates — his deafness, 
for instance. A striking proof of Beethoven's affection is offered 
by the fact that he gave Amenda a copy of his Quartet in F (Op. 18, 
No. 1), writing on the first violin part: 

Dear Amenda: Take this quartet as a small memorial of our 
friendship, and whenever you play it recall the days which we passed 
together and the sincere affection felt for you then and which will always 
be felt by 

Your true and warm friend 

Ludwig van Beethoven. 
Vienna, 1799, June 25. 

In a letter written nearly a year later Beethoven asks his 
friend not to lend the quartet, as he had revised it. A letter 
written, evidently, about the time of Amenda's departure from 
Vienna indicated that Beethoven was oppressed at this period with 
another grief than that caused by the loss of his friend's compan- 
ionship. Beethoven speaks of his "already lacerated heart," says 
that *'the worst of the storm is over" and mentions an invitation 
to Poland — which he had accepted. Nothing came of this Polish 
enterprise. Dr. A. C. Kalischer suspected that the lacerated 
heart was due to the composer's unrequited love for Magdalena 
Willmann, a singer then in Vienna to whom he made a proposal 
of marriage which was never answered. 

Count Moritz Lichnowsky, brother of Prince Carl, of wlumi 
we shall not lose sight entirely until the closing scene, was 
another of the friends of those years. He had been a pupil of 
Mozart, played the pianoforte with much skill and was an influen- 
tial member of the party which (h'fended the novelty and felt the 
grandeur of his friend's comi)Ositions. ScliiudlcT saw much of him 
during Beethoven's last years, and eulogizes the "noble Coiinr' 
in very strong terms. 

Another of that circle of young (lileltanii, and one of IJie lirst 

players of Beethoven's compositions, was a young Jewish violitj- 
ist, Ileinrich Eppinger. lie played at a charity <-oncert in \ienna, 
making his first appearance there in 17S<). "He l.rcaine. ni aftrr 
years," says a correspondent of the time, "a dilettante of th.- most 
excellent reputation, lived modestly on a small fortune an(l de- 
voted himself entirely to music." At the period before us Kppingep 
was one of Beethoven's first violins at the private concerts of the 



2i)(> The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

nobility. Hiiring, who became a distinguished merchant and 
banker, belonged now to this circle of young amateur musicians, 
and in 1795 had the reputation of being at the head of the amateur 
violinists. The youthful friendship between him and the com- 
poser was not interrupted as they advanced into life, and twenty 
years later was of great advantage to Beethoven. 

But a more interesting person for us is the instructor under 
whom Beethoven in Vienna resumed his study of the violin (a 
fact happily preserved by Ries) — Wenzel Krumpholz. He was a 
brother of the very celebrated Bohemian harp player who drowned 
himself in the Seine in 1790. In his youth Krumpholz had been 
for a period of three years a pupil of Haydn at Esterhaz and had 
played first violin in the orchestra there. He left Esterhaz to enter 
the service of Prince Kinsky, but came to Vienna in 1795 to join 
the operatic orchestra, and at once became noted as a performer 
in Haydn's quartets. He was (says Eugene Eiserle in Gloggl's 
"Neue Wiener Musik-Zeitung" of August 13, 1857), 

a highly sensitive art-enthusiast, and one of the first of those who foresaw 
and recognized Beethoven's greatness. He attached himself to Beet- 
hoven with such pertinacity and self-sacrifice that the latter, though he al- 
ways called him "his fool, "accepted him as "a most intimate friend, "made 
him acquainted with all his plans for compositions and generally reposed 
the utmost confidence in him. Krumpholz formed also an exceedingly 
close friendship with his countryman Wenzel Czerny, a music-teacher 
living in the Leopoldstadt, and from 1797 onward spent most of his 
leisure evenings with the Czerny family, and thus the little son Karl, 
in his eighth and ninth years, learned almost daily what works Beethoven 
had in hand, and, like Krumpholz, became filled with enthusiasm for 
the tone-hero. 

Krumpholz was a virtuoso on the mandolin, and hence, prob- 
ably, that page of sketches by Beethoven in the Artaria Collection 
headed "Sonatine fiir Mandolin u. P. F." Among the Zmeskall 
papers in the Royal Imperial Library in Vienna there is a half- 
sheet of coarse foolscap paper upon which is written with lead- 
pencil in huge letters by the hand of Beethoven, 

The Music Count is dismissed with infamy to-day. — 

The First Violin will be exiled to the misery of Siberia. 

The Baron is forbidden for a whole month to ask questions and 

never again to be overhasty, and he must concern himself with nothing 

but his ipse miserum. 

B. 

"Music Count" and "Baron" are, of course, Zmeskall; but 
these notices of Beethoven's various first violins show the folly 



SCHUPPAXZIGH AND HiS QuARTET 237 

of attempting to decide whether one of them or Schuppanzigh was 
to be sent to Siberia, so long as there is no hint whatever as to 
the time and occasion of the note. 

The very common mistake of forgetting that there is a time 
in the lives of distinguished men when they are but aspirants to 
fame, when they have their reputations still to make, often, in fact, 
attracting less notice and raising feebler hopes of future distinc- 
tion in those who know them, than many a more precocious con- 
temporary — this mistake has thrown the figures of Schu])panzigh 
and his associates in the quartet concerts at Prince Carl Lich- 
nowsky's into a very false prominence in the picture of these first 
seven years of Beethoven's Vienna life. The composer himself 
was not the Beethoven whom ive know. Had he died in ISOO, 
his place in musical history would have been that of a great piano- 
forte player and of a very promising young composer, whose 
decease thus in his prime had disappointed well-founded hopes 
of great future eminence. 

This is doubly true of the members of the quartet. Had they 
passed away in early manhood, not one of them, except perhajis 
young Kraft, the only one who ever distinguished himself as a 
virtuoso upon his instrument, would liave been remenil)ered in 
the annals of music. They were during these years but laying 
the foundation for future excellence and celebrity as performers 
of Mozart's, Haydn's, Forster's and Beethoven's quartets. Schuj)- 
panzigh, first violin, and Weiss, viola, alone appear to have been 
constantly associated in their quartet-playing. Knift, violon- 
cellist, was often absent, when his father, or Zmeskall, or some 
other, supplied his place; and as the second violin was often taken 
by the master of the house, when they were engaged for private 
concerts, Sina was, naturally, absent. Still, from 17!)4 to 17!)!), 
the four appear to have practised much and very regularly to- 
gether. They enjoyed an advantage known to no other ciuarlet — 
that of playing the comimsitions of Haydn and Fiirster und<r the 
eyes of the composers, and being taught by them evi-ry elfecf 
that the music was intended to produce. Eacli of tlu- p.-rformrrs, 
therefore, knowing j)r('cisely the intentions of the composer, ac- 
quired the <liffienlt art of being indeix-ndent and at the same time 
of being subordinate to the general elFect. When B^-etlioven began 
to compose (luartets he had, therefore, a set of jxTformers schooled 
to perfection by his great predecessors, and who alnady had 
experience in his own music through his trios and (piart.ts. 

Ignatz Schuppanzigli. tlie leader, born 177r». died March 2, 
1830 in Vienna, originally studied music as a dilettante and became 



238 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

a capital player of the viola; but, about the time when Beethoven 
came to Vienna, he exchanged that instrument for the violin and 
made music his profession. He was fond of directing orchestral 
performances and seems to have gained a considerable degree of 
local reputation and to have been somewhat of a favorite in that 
capacity before reaching his 21st year. In 1798-99, he took charge 
of those concerts in the Augarten established by Mozart and 
Martin, and afterwards led by Rudolph. Seyfried, writing after 
his death, calls Schuppanzigh a "natural born and really energetic 
leader of the orchestra." The difference in age, character and 
social position between him and Beethoven was such as not to 
admit between them that higher and nobler friendship which 
united the latter and Zmeskall; but they could be, and were, of 
great use to each other, and there was a strong personal liking, 
if not affection, which was mutual. Schuppanzigh's person early 
assumed very much of the form and proportions of Sterne's Dr. 
Slop, and after his return from Russia he is one of the "Milord 
Falstaffs" of Beethoven's correspondence and Conversation Books. 
His obesity was, however, already the subject of the composer's 
jests, and he must have been an exceedingly good-tempered young 
man, to bear with and forgive the coarse and even abusive 
text of the short vocal piece (1801) headed "Lob auf den Dicken" 
("Praise of the Fat One"). But it is evidently a mere jest, and 
was taken as such. It is worthy of note that Beethoven and 
Schuppanzigh in addressing each other used neither the familiar 
"du" nor the respectful "Sie," but "er" — a fact which has been 
supposed to prove Beethoven's great contempt for the violinist; 
but as it would prove equal contempt on the other side, it proves 
too much. Of Sina and Weiss, both Silesians by birth, there is 
little that need be added here. Weiss became the first viola 
player of Vienna, and a not unsuccessful composer of ballet and 
other music. 

Anton Kraft (the father) came from Bohemia to pursue his 
legal studies in Vienna, but abandoned them to enter the Imperial 
Court Orchestra as violoncellist. In 1778, he accepted an invita- 
tion from Haydn to join the orchestra in Esterhaz; where, on 
the 18th of December of the same year, his son Nicholas Anton 
was born. The child, endowed by nature with great musical 
talents, enjoyed the advantages of his father's instructions and 
example and of growing up under the eye of Haydn and in the 
constant study of that great musician's works, tfpon the death 
of Esterhazy and the dispersion of his orchestra, Kraft came with 
his son, now in his fourteenth year, to Vienna. On April 15th, 



Knowledge of Orchestil\l Instruments 239 

1792, Nicholas played a concerto composed by his father at the 
"Widows and Orphans" concert, and on the 21st again appeared 
in a concert given by the father. Notwithstanding a very remark- 
able success, the son was destined for anoUier profession tlian 
music; and from this time until his eighteen tli year, he played 
his instrument only as an amateur, and as such Beethoven first 
knew the youth. But when the young Prince Lobkowitz formed 
his orchestra in 1796, both the Krafts were engaged, and Nicholas 
Anton thenceforth made music his profession. In tlie maturity 
of his years and powers, his only rival among all the German 
violoncellists was Bernhard Romberg, 

Schindler, with his characteristic inattention to dates, 
observes, speaking of Schuppanzigh, Weiss and the elder Kraft: 

These three artists are intimately connected with the development 
of Beethoven and, indeed, with a large portion of his creations; whore- 
fore they will frequently be remembered here. Meanwhile it may suHice 
to say that it was to this company of practically-trained musicians tluit 
the rising young composer owed his knowledge of the efficient use of 
stringed instruments. In addition are to be mentioned Joseph Friod- 
lowsky, who taught our master the mechanism of the clarinet, and the 
famous hornist, Johann Wenzel Stich, who called himself Giovanni 
Punto in Italian, to whom Beethoven owed what he knew of the proper 
writing for horn, of which he already gave striking illustration in his 
Sonata for Horn, Op. 17. In the mechanism of the flute and its con- 
struction, which underwent so many changes in the first decades of tiie 
century, Carl SchoU steadily remained Beethoven's instructor. 

There is doubtless some degree of truth in tJiis in so far as 
it relates to a later period. Punto, of course, gave Beethoven a 
new revelation of the powers and possibilities of tlie liorii, as 
Dragonetti did of the contrabass; but he first came to Vienna 
near the end of 1799, and died at Prague only three years after 
(February 10, 1803). All the others here named by SchiiidhT 
— with one exception, the elder Kraft — were youths of 1(>-1H 
years, when Beethoven composed }iis first and second concertos - 
works wliich j)rove tJiat he was not allogetiier ignorant of the 
use of orcJiestral instruments! Had Schindler known sonu'tliing 
of the history of Max Franz's orchestra in Bonn, lie would liavc 
avoided many a mistake,' 

'Rpothovfn flid not alwnys follow iho BiiffRrstions of llx-sc mm. ArronlinR »o 
an anordote told by DoleXalok to Olto .Falin. Kraft onr.- rornplaiiird that n (>«»'''*['' 
was not piayaMc "It's K'>1 to br," answered lleellioven. In a like vein K. Hoi/, 
relates that "IJeethoven asked an exrellent artist wlxlher or not eertnin I hint's were 
possible"; the question of hf)W difFienlt they were did not enter. Thtu Frie.ilowHky 
for clarinet, Czerwensky for oboe. Uradezky and Merbst for horn. If othem romnlained 
of impossibilities the answer was "They can do it and you inunt." (From 1 haycr ■ 
papers.) 



240 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Johann Nepomuk Hummel, the pupil of Mozart, was another 
of tlie youths whom Beethoven drew into his circle. In 1795, the 
elder Hummel brought back his son to Vienna (from that very 
successful concert tour which had occupied the last six years and 
had made tlie boy known even to the cities of distant Scotland) 
and put him to the studies of counterpoint and composition with 
Albrechtsberger and Salieri. He seems to have been quietly 
at his studies, playing only in private, until April 28th, 1799, 
when he again appeared in public both as pianist and composer, 
in a concert in the Augartensaal, directed by Schuppanzigh. "He 
performed a symphony besides a melodrama composed for the 
occasion and between them played prettily composed improvi- 
sations on the pianoforte." That the talented and promising boy 
of seventeen years should, upon arriving home again, seek the 
acquaintance and favor of one who during his absence had made 
so profound an impression upon the Vienna public as Beethoven, 
and that the latter should have rejoiced to show kindness to 
]\Iozart's favorite pupil, hardly needs to be mentioned. A chapter 
of description would not illustrate the nature of their intercourse 
so vividly, as two short but exceedingly characteristic notes of 
Beethoven's which Hummel preserved and which found their 
way into print after his death: 

I 

He is not to come to me again. He is a treacherous dog and may 
the flayer get all such treacherous dogs ! 

II 

Herzens Natzerl : 

You are an honest fellow and I now see you were right. 
Come, then, to me this afternoon. You'll find Schuppanzigh here also 
and we two will bump, thump and pump you to your heart's delight. 
A kiss from 

Your 

Beethoven 
also called Mehlschoberl. ^ 

In a letter to Eleonore von Breuning, Beethoven described 
many of the Vienna pianists as his "deadly enemies." Schindler's 
observations upon the* composer's relations with the Viennese 

'The humor to which Beethoven resorts in this note in order to show his con- 
trition necessarily evaporates in any attempt to translate its Viennese colloquialisms. 
"Herzens Natzerl" is to be understood as "Dear little Ignacius of my heart," Nazerl 
being an affectionate diminutive of Ignaz or Ignacius. Why it should have been applied 
to Hummel, whose Christian names were Johann Nepomuk, does not appear. "Mehl- 
schoberl" is a term which has survived in the Austrian cuisine of to-day, the article 
itself being a sort of soup dumpling. 



Envious Viennese Musicl\ns ^241 

musicians, though written in his peculiar style, seem to be very 
judicious and correct. 

Nobody is likely to expect, he says (Vol. I, 23-24), that an artist 
who made his way upwards as our Beethoven, although almost confining 
his activities exclusively to aristocratic circles that upheld him in extra- 
ordinary fashion, would remain free from the attacks of his colleagues; 
on the contrary, the reader will be prepared to see a host of enemies 
advance against him because of the shining qualities and ovidences of 
genius of our hero, in contrast with the heavy burden of social idiosyn- 
crasies and uncouthness. More than anything else, what seemed least 
tolerable to his opponents was the notion that his appearance, the 
excitability which he controlled too little in his intercourse with his 
colleagues and his lack of consideration in passing judgment were natural 
accompaniments of genius. His too small toleration of many l)izarreries 
and weaknesses of high society, and on the other hand his severe demand 
on his colleagues for higher culture, even his Bonn dialect, afforded his 
enemies more than enough material to revenge themselves on him by 
evil gossip and slander. . . . The musicians in Vienna at that time, 
with a very few exceptions, were lacking, not only in artistic, l)ut also 
in the most necessarj' degree of general, education and were jvs full of the 
envy of handicraftsmen as the members of the guilds themselves. There 
was a particular antipathy to all foreigners as soon as they manifested a 
purpose to make their homes in the imperial city. 

Schindler might have added that the change had been in no 
small degree produced through the instructions and example of 
Beethoven as they acted upon the Czernys, Moscheles and other 
young admirers of his genius. In short, Beethoven's instant 
achievement of a position as artist only paralNlcd by Mozart ami 
of a social rank which Gluck, Salieri, Iladyn luid gained only after 
making their names famous throughout Europe, together wilh 
the general impression that the mantle of IVIozart liad fallen upon 
him — all this begat bitter envy in those whom his talents and 
genius overshadowed; they revenged themselves by deriding him 
for his personal 7)eculiarities and by condeniiu'ng and ridiculing 
the novelties in liis ronij)()sitions; while he met their envy with 
disdain, their criticisms witJi contempt; and, when he did not 
treat their comi)Ositions with indiHerence, but too often only 
noticed them with sarcasm. 

This picture, certainly, is not an agreeable one. but all the 
evidence proves it, unfortunately, faithful. Such men as Salieri. 
Gyrowetz, Weigl, are not to be understood as included in the 
term "pianist" as u.sed by Beethoven in his letL-r to Kleoiiore 
von Breiining. For these men "stood high in licet hoven's res|)ecl," 
says Schindler, and bis words are confirmed to flic fullest extent 
by the Conversation Books and other authorities; which also 



24 -^^ The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

show that Eybler's name might have been added to the list. 
They were all more or less older than Beethoven, and for their 
contrapuntal learning, particularly in the case of Weigl and Eybler, 
he esteemed them very highly. No indications, however, have 
been found, that he was upon terms of close private friendship 
and intimacy with either. 

Beethoven was no exception to the general rule, that men of 
genius delight in warm and lasting friendships with women of 
superior minds and culture — not meaning those "conquests" which, 
according to Wegeler, even during his first three years in Vienna, 
*'he occasionally made, which if not impossible for many an Adonis 
would still have been difficult." Let such matters, even if details 
concerning them were now attainable, be forgotten. His celibacy 
,was by no means owing to a deliberate choice of a single life. 
What is necessary and proper of the little that is known on this 
point will, in due time, be imparted simply and free from gloss 
or superfluous comment. As to his friendships with the other 
sex, it would be throwing the view of them into very false per- 
spective to employ those of later years in giving piquancy to a 
chapter here. Let them also come in due order and thus, while 
they lose nothing of interest, they may, perchance afford relief 
and give brightness to canvas which otherwise might sometimes 
become too sombre. Happily during these prosperous years now 
before us, the picture has been for the most part bright and sunny 
and the paucity of the information upon the topic in question is 
of less consequence. 

In the present connection one of our old Bonn friends again 
comes upon the scene. The beautiful, talented and accomplished 
Magdalene Willmann was invited to sing at Venice during the 
carnival of 1794. She left Bonn the preceding summer with her 
brother Max and his wife (Fraulein Tribolet) to fulfill the engage- 
ment. After leaving Venice, they gave a concert in Gratz, and 
journeyed on to Vienna. Here Max and his wife remained, having 
accepted engagements from Schikaneder, while Magdalene went 
on to Berlin. Not suiting the operatic public there she returned 
to Vienna, and was soon engaged to sing both German and Italian 
parts in the Court Opera. Beethoven renewed his intercourse 
with them and soon became so captivated with the charms of 
the beautiful Magdalene as to offer her his hand. This fact was 
communicated to the author by a daughter of Max Willmann, 
still living in 1860, who had often heard her father speak of it. 
To the question, why her aunt did not accept the offer of Beet- 
hoven, Madame S. hesitated a moment, and then, laughing, 



Friendships with Women 243 

replied: "Because he was so ugly, and half crazy!" In 1709, 
Magdalene married a certain Galvani, but her happiness was 
short; she died toward the end of 1801. 

Two letters of Beethoven to be found in the printed collection 
have been preserv^ed from the period before us, addressed to 
Christine Gerhardi, a young woman of high distinction in society 
at the time for the splendor of her talents and her high culture. 
Dr. Sonnleithner wrote of her: 

She was the daughter of an official at the court of the Emperor 
Leopold II ... an excellent singer, but remained a dilettante and sang 
chiefly in concerts for charitable purposes (which she herself arranged), 
or for the benefit of eminent artists. Old Professor Peter Frank wjvs 
director of the general hospital of Vienna in the neighborhood of whicli 
(Xo. 20 Alserstrasse) she lived. He was a great lover of mnsic, but 
his son, Dr. Joseph Frank, was a greater; he made essays in composition 
and arranged musical soirees at the home of his father at which Beet- 
hoven and Fraulein Gerhardi took part, playing and singing. The son 
frequently composed cantatas, which Beethoven corrected, for the name- 
days and birthdays of his father, and in which Fraulein Gerluirdi sang 

the soprano solos She was at the time the most famous amateur 

singer in Vienna, and inasmuch as Haydn knew her well tliere is no 
doubt but that he had her in mind when he composed "The Creation"; 
indeed, she sang the soprano part with great applause not only at Schwar- 
zenberg but also at the first performance in the Burgtheatcr. All reports 
agree that she met Beethoven often at Frank's and that he fre(|uently 
accompanied her singing on the pianoforte. He did not give her lessons. 

Dr. Joseph von Frank and Christine Gerhardi were married 
on August 20, 1798; they moved away from Vienna in ISOI. 

A few notes upon certain young women to whom Beethoven 
dedicated compositions at this period of his life may form no 
inappropriate close to this chapter. It was much the custom then 
for teachers of music to dedicate their works to i)upils, especially 
to those who belonged to the higher .social ranks — such dedications 
being at the same time comi)iiments to the ])upils and a(lv«'rtis<»- 
ments for the instructors, with the farther a<lvantage often of 
being sources of y)ecimiary ])r()fit. When, therefore, we read the 
name of Baroness All)iui on the title-page of certain sonatas by 
Sterkel, of Julia Countess Guicciardi on one by Kleinhein/. of 
Anna Countess Mailath on songs by Teyber, we assume at once 
the probability in these and like instances that the relation of 
master and pupil existed. Beethoven also followed the cuslotn; 
and the young ladies, subjects of the following notices, are .ill 
known or supposed to have taken lessons of him. 

Anna Louisa Barbara ("La Comtesse Habette") was the 
daughter of Karl Count Keglevics de Busin, of Hungarian 



244 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Croatian lineage, and Barbara Countess Zichy. She married 
Prince Innocenz d'Erba Odescalchi on the 10th of February, 1801 
(another authority gives 1800). Beethoven's dedications to her 
are the Sonata, Op. 7 (published in 1797), the Variations "La 
stessa la stessissima" (1799), and the Pianoforte Concerto, Op. 15, 
1801 — the last to her as Princess Odescalchi. A note by the 
composer to Zmeskall — which, judging both from its contents 
and the handwriting, could not have been written later than 1801-2 
— shows that the Odescalchi palace was one of those at which he 
took part in musical soirees. 

"Countess HenrietteLichnowsky," writes Count Amade, "was 
the sister of the ruling Prince Carl, and was doubtless married 
to the Marquis of Carneville after the dedication to her of the 
Rondo (G major. Op. 51, No. 2, published in September, 1802); 
she lived in Paris after her marriage and died about 1830." The 
Rondo was first dedicated to Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, but 
Beethoven asked it back in exchange for the C-sharp minor Sonata; 
to which fact we shall recur presently. Countess Thun, to whom 
Beethoven dedicated the Clarinet Trio, Op. 11, in 1797, was the 
mother of Prince Carl Lichnowsky and Countess Henriette Lich- 
nowsky. She died May 18, 1800. The Sonata in E-flat, Op. 27, 
No. 1, was dedicated to Josepha Sophia, wife of Prince Johann 
Joseph von Liechtenstein, daughter of Joachim Egon, Landgrave 
of FUrstenberg-Weitra, She was born on June 20, 1776, married 
on April 22, 1792 and died February 23, 1848. Whether her 
father was related at all, and if so, how, to the Fiirstenberg in. 
whose house Beethoven gave lessons in Bonn, is not known. Her 
husband, however, was first cousin to Count Ferdinand von Wald- 
stein. The Baroness Braun to whom Beethoven dedicated the 
two Pianoforte Sonatas Op. 14 and the Sonata for Horn in 1801, 
was the wife of Baron Peter von Braun, lessee of the National- 
theater and afterwards of the Theater an der Wien. The dedica- 
tions disclose an early association which eventually led to Beet- 
hoven's being asked to compose an opera. It is not known that 
Beethoven was a social visitor in the house of Baron Braun, but 
he was a highly respected guest in the house of Count Browne, to 
whose wife Beethoven dedicated the "Waldmadchen" Variations 
and the three Pianoforte Sonatas, Op. 10. 



Chapter XVII 

Beethoven's Character and PersonaHty — His Disposition 

Love of Nature — Relations with the Opposite Sex — 
Literary Tastes — His Letters — Manner of Composing 
— The Sketchbooks — Origin of His Deafness. 

THE year 1800 is an important era in Beethoven's lii.story. It 
is the year in which, cutting loose from the pianoforte, lie 
asserted his claims to a position with Mozart and the still 
living and productive Haydn in the higher forms of eh;unl)er and 
orchestral composition — the quartet and the synii)liony. It is 
the year, too, in which the bitter consciousness of an increasing 
derangement of his organs of hearing was forced upon him and the 
terrible anticipation of its incurable nature and of its final result 
in almost total deafness began to harass and distress him. The 
course of his life was afterwards so modified, on the one hand, 
by the prosperous issue of these new appeals to the taste and 
judgment of the public, and, on the other, by the unhappy pro^'ress 
of liis malady, each acting and reacting upon a nature sin^^Mdaily 
exceptional, that for this and otlier reasons some jmints in his 
personal character and habits, and a few general remarks upon 
and illustrations of anotluT toj)ic or two nnist be made before 
resuming the narrative of events. 

A true and exhaustive picture of Beethoven as a man would 
present an almost ludicrous contrast to tJiat which is ^'cncrally 
entertained as correct. As sculj)tors au<l painters ]ia\«' each in 
turn idealized the work of his predecessor, until the coni|)oser 
stands before us like a Homeric god until those who knew liiin 
personally, could they return to <'arth, would never suspect that 
the grand form and noble feafuresof the more pretentious portraits 
are intended to represent the sliort muscular (i^nre and pock- 
pitted face of their old friend — so in literature (>vokcd hy the com- 
poser a similar [)rocess has ^'one on, with a corresponding sui)|)res- 
sion of wJuitever is deemed common and trivial, until he is made 
a being living in his own peculiar realm of gigantic ideas, above 

(245) 



246 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

and apart from the rest of mankind — a sort of intellectual Thor, 
dwelling in "darkness and clouds of awful state," and making 
in }iis music mysterious revelations of things unutterable! But 
it is really some generations too soon for a conscientious investiga- 
tor of his history to view him as a semi-mythological personage, 
or to discover that his notes to friends asking for pens, making 
appointments to dinner at taverns, or complaining of servants, 
are "cyclopean blocks of granite," which, like the "chops and 
tomato sauce" of Mr. Pickwick, contain depths unfathomable 
of profound meaning. The present age must be content to find 
in Beethoven, with all his greatness, a very human nature, one 
which, if it showed extraordinary strength, exhibited also extraor- 
dinary weaknesses. 

It was the great misfortune of Beethoven's youth — his im- 
pulses good and bad being by nature exceedingly quick and violent 
— that he did not grow up under the influence of a wise and strict 
parental control, which would have given him those habits of 
self-restraint that, once fixed, are a second and better nature, 
and through which the passions, curbed and moderated, remain 
only as sources of noble energy and power. His very early admis- 
sion into the orchestra of the theatre as cembalist, was more to 
the advantage of his musical than of his moral development. 
It was another misfortune that, in those years, when the strict 
regulations of a school would have compensated in some measure 
for the unwise, unsteady, often harsh discipline of his father, he 
was thus thrown into close connection with actors and actresses, 
who, in those days, were not very distinguished for the propriety 
of their manners and morals. Before his seventeenth or eighteenth 
year, when he became known to the Breuning family and Count 
Waldstein, he could hardly have learned the importance of culti- 
vating those high principles of life and conduct on which in later 
years he laid so much stress. And, at that period of life, the 
character even under ordinary circumstances is so far developed, 
the habits have become so far formed and fixed, and the natural 
tendencies have acquired so much strength, that it is, as a rule, 
too late to conquer the power of a perfect self-command. At all 
events, the consequences of a deficient early moral education fol- 
lowed Beethoven through life and are visible in the frequent 
contests between his worse and his better nature and in his con- 
stant tendency to extremes. To-day, upon some perhaps trivial 
matter, he bursts into ungovernable wrath; to-morrow, his peni- 
tence exceeds the measure of his fault. To-day he is proud, un- 
bending, offensively careless of those claims which society grants to 



Inconsistent Traits of Character 247 

people of high rank; to-morrow his humiHty is more than adequate 
to the occasion. The poverty in which he grew up was not without 
its effect upon his character. He never learned to estimate money 
at its real value; though often profuse and generous to a fault, 
even wasteful, yet at times he would fall into the other extreme. 
With all his sense of nobility of independence, he early formed 
the habit of leaning upon others; and this the more, as his malady 
increased, which certainly was a partial justification; but he thus 
became prone to follow unwise counsels, or, when his pride was 
touched, to assert an equally unwise independence. At other 
times, in the multitude of counsellors he became the victim of 
utter irresolution, when decision and firmness were indispen- 
sable and essential to his welfare. Thus, l>oth by following 
the impulse of the moment, and by hesitation when a prompt 
determination was demanded, he took many a false step, which 
could no longer be retrieved when reflection brought with it 
bitter regret. 

It would be doing great injustice both to Beethoven and to 
the present writer to understand the preceding remarks as being 
intended to represent the composer's lapses in these regards, as 
being more than unpleasant and unfortunate episodes in the 
general tenor of his life; but as they did occur to his great 
disadvantage, the fact cannot be silently passed over. 

A romantically sentimental admiration of the lieroes of 
ancient classic literature, having its origin in Paris, had become 
widely the fashion in Beethoven's youth. The democrat ic tlieories 
of the French sentimentalists had received a new imi)ulse from 
the dignified simplicity of the foreign representatives of the young 
American Republic, Franklin, Adams, Jay — from the rrtircincnf 
to private life on their plantations and fanns of the great military 
leaders in the contest, Washington, (Ireene, Schuyler, K'nov and 
others, after the war with England was over; from the prid*' 
taken by the Freneh officers, who had served in America, in their 
insignia of tJie order of the Cincinnati; and even from the letters 
and journals of German oflficers, who, in captivity, had f(»rtne(I 
friendsliips with many of the better class of ll)e republican N'aders, 
and seen with their own eyes in what simplicity they lived while 
guiding the destinies of the new-born nation. Thns through 
the greater part of Central Europe the idea became current of 
a pure and sublime humanity, above and beyon«l the influence 
of the passions, of which ("incinnatns, Scipio, ("ato. Washington, 
Franklin, were the .supposed representatives. Zschokkc^ makes 
his Heuwen say: "Virtue and the heroes of anticiuity had in.spired 



248 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

me witli enthusiasm for virtue and heroism"; and so, also, Beet- 
lioven. He exalted his imagination and fancy by the perusal 
of tlie German poets and translations of the ancient and English 
classics, especially Homer, Plutarch and Shakespeare; dwelt 
fondly upon the great characters as models for the conduct of 
life; but between the sentiment which one feels and the active 
principle on which he acts, there is often a wide cleft. That 
Beethoven proved to be no Stoic, that he never succeeded in 
governing his passions with absolute sway, was not because 
the spirit was unwilling; the flesh was weak. Adequate firmness 
of character had not been acquired in early years. But those 
who have most thoroughly studied his life, know best how pure 
and lofty were his aspirations, how wide and deep his sympathies 
with all that is good, how great his heart, how, on the whole, 
heroic his endurance of his great calamity. They can best feel the 
man's true greatness, admire the nobility of his nature, and drop 
the tear of sorrow and regret upon his vagaries and faults. He 
who is morbidly sensitive, and compelled to keep constant ward 
and watch over his passions, can best appreciate and sympathize 
with the man, Beethoven. 

Truth and candor compel the confession, that in those days 
of prosperity he bore his honors with less of meekness than we 
could wish; that he had lost something of that modesty and 
ingenuousness eulogized by Junker ten years before, in his Mer- 
gentheim letter. His "somewhat lofty bearing" had even been 
reported by the correspondent of the "Allgemeine Musikalische 
Zeitung." Traces of self-sufficiency and even arrogance — faults 
almost universal among young and successful geniuses, often in 
a far higher degree than was true of Beethoven, and with not a 
tithe of his reason — are unquestionably visible. No one can read 
without regret his remarks upon certain persons not named, 
with whom at this very time he was upon terms of apparently 
intimate friendship. "I value them," he writes, "only by what 
they do for me. ... I look upon them only as instruments 
upon which I play when I feel so disposed." His "somewhat 
lofty bearing" was matter for jest to the venerable Haydn, who, 
according to a trustworthy tradition, when Beethoven's visits 
to him had become few and far between would inquire of other 
visitors: "How goes it with our Great Mogul?" Nor would 
the young nobles, whose society he frequented, take offence; but 
it certainly made him enemies among those whom he "valued 
according to their service and looked upon as mere instruments" 
— and no wonder! 



Beethoven's Self-Esteem Injured 249 

Pierson, in his edition of the so-called "Beethoven's Stiidien," 
has added to Seyfried's personal sketches a few reminiscences 
of that Griesinger, who was so long Saxon Minister in Vienna, 
and to whom we owe the valuable "Biographische Notizen iiber 
Joseph Haydn." One of his anecdotes is to the purpose here 
and may be taken as substantially historical. 

When he was still only an attache, and Beethoven was little 
known except as a celebrated pianoforte player, both being still 
young, they happened to meet at the house of Prince Lobkowitz. 
In conversation with a gentleman present, Beethoven said in 
substance, that he wished to be relieved from all bargain and 
sale of his works, and would gladly find some one willing to pay 
him a certain income for life, for which he should possess the 
exclusive right of publishing all he wrote; adding, "and I would 
not be idle in composition. I believe Goethe does this with Cotta, 
and, if I mistake not, Handel's London publisher held similar 
terms with him." 

"My dear young man," returned the other, "You must not 
complain; for you are neither a Goethe nor a Handel, and it is 
not to be expected that you ever will be; for such masters will 
not be born again." Beethoven bit his lips, gave a most con- 
temptuous glance at the speaker, and said no more. Lobkowitz 
endeavored to appease him, and in a subsequent conversation 
said: 

"My dear Beethoven, the gentleman did not intend to wound 
you. It is an established maxim, to which most men axlhere, 
that the present generation cannot possibly produce such mighty 
spirits as the dead, who have already winicd their fame." 

"So much the worse. Your Highnes.s," retorted l^vtlioven: 
"but with men who will not Ix^lieve and trust in me because 
lam as yet unknown to universal fame, I cannot hold intercoiirM-I" 

It is easy for this generation, whicJi Jias the productions of 
the composer's whole life as the basis of its ju<lgiucnf of his 
powers, to speak disparagingly of }u's contemporaries for iiof bring 
able to discover in his first twelve or fifteen works good reason 
for classing him with (JoetJie and Handel; biil lie who stands 
upon a mountain cannot justly ridicule him on the plain for the 
narrow extent of his view. It was us dillienlt then to eoneeiv«* 
the possibility of instrnni<-nfal music Ix-iiig elevat<'<l to lieight.s 
greater than those reached by Haydn and Mo/.art.as it in for us 
to conceive of Beethoven being hereafter surpassi-d. 

In the short personal sketches of Beethoven's friends whieli 
have been introduced, the dates of their birtJis have been noted 



250 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

so far as known, that the reader may observe how very large a 
proportion of them were of the same age as the composer, or still 
j'ounger — some indeed but boys — when he came to Vienna. And 
so it continued. As tlie years pass by in our narrative and names 
familiar to us disappear, the new ones which take their places, 
witli rare exceptions, are still of men much younger than him- 
self. The older generation of musical amateurs at Vienna, van 
Swieten and his class, had accepted the young Bonn organist 
and patronized him, as a pianist. But when Beethoven began 
to press his claims as a composer, and, somewhat later, as his 
deafness increased, to neglect his playing, some of the elder friends 
had passed away, others had withdrawn from society, and the 
number was few of those who, like Lichnowsky, could compre- 
hend that departures from the forms and styles of Mozart and 
Haydn were not necessarily faults. With the greater number, as 
perifection necessarily admits of no improvement and both quartet 
and symphony in form had been carried to that point by Haydn 
and Mozart, it was a perfectly logical conclusion that farther 
progress was impossible. They could not perceive that there 
was still room for the invention or discovery of new elements of 
interest, beauty, power; for such perceptions are the offspring 
of genius. With Beethoven they were instinctive. 

One more remark: Towards the decline of life, the master- 
pieces of literature and art, on which the taste was formed, are 
apt to become invested in the mind with a sort of nimbus of 
sanctity; hence, the productions of a young and daring innovator, 
even when the genius and talent displayed in them are felt and 
receive just acknowledgement, have the aspect, not only of an 
extravagant and erring waste of misapplied powers, but of a 
kind of profane audacity. For these and similar reasons Beet- 
hoven's novelties found little favor with the veterans of the 
concert-room. 

The criticism of the day was naturally ruled and stimulated 
by the same spirit. Beethoven's own confession how it at 
first wounded him, will come in its order; but after he felt that 
his victory over it was sure — was in fact gained with a younger 
generation — he only laughed at the critics; to answer them, 
except by new works, was beneath him. Seyfried says of him 
(during the years of the "Eroica," "Fidelio," etc.): "When he 
came across criticisms in which he was accused of grammatical 
errors he rubbed his hands in glee and cried out with a loud laugh : 
'Yes, yes! they marvel and put their heads together because 
they do not find it in any school of thoroughbass!' " But for the 



The Homage of Young Disciples 251 

young of both sexes, Beethoven's music had an extraordinary 
charm. And this not upon technical grounds, nor solely for its 
novelties, always an attractive feature to the young, but because 
it appealed to the sensibilities, excited emotions and touched the 
heart as no other purely instrumental compositions had ever done. 
And so it was that Beethoven also in his quality of composer 
soon gathered about him a circle of young disciples, enthusiastic 
admirers. Their homage may well have been grateful to him — 
as such is to every artist and scholar of genius, who, striking 
out and steadfastly pursuing a new path, subjects himself to 
the sharp animadversions of critics who, in all honesty, really 
can see little or nothing of good in that which is not to be measured 
and judged by old standards. The voice of praise under such 
circumstances is doubly pleasing. It is known that, when Beet- 
hoven's works began to find a just appreciation from a new gener- 
ation of critics, who had indeed been schooled by them, he col- 
lected and preserved a considerable number of laudatory articles, 
whose fate cannot now be traced, ^Yhen, however, the natural 
and just satisfaction which is afforded by the homage of honest 
admirers and deservedly eulogistic criticism, degenerates into 
a love of indiscriminate praise and flattery, it becomes a weak- 
ness, a fault. Of this error in Beethoven there are traces easily 
discernible, and especially in his later years; there are pages of 
fulsome eulogy addressed to him in the Conversation Books, 
which would make the reader blush for him, did not the mere 
fact that such books existed remind him of the bitterness of the 
composer's lot. The failing was also sometimes his misfortune; 
for those who were most profuse in their flatteries, and thus 
gained his ear, were by no means the best of his counsellors. Hut 
aside from the attractive force of his genius, Beethoven possessed 
a personal magnetism, which attached his young worshipp«Ts 
to him and, all things considered, to his sohM and lasting bcndil 
in his private affairs. Just at tin's time, and for some years to 
come, his brotliers usually rendered him the aid he need<'<i; but 
thenceforth to the close of his life, the nanu-s of a constant succes- 
sion of young men will api)ear in and vanish from our narrative, 
who were ever necessary to him and ever ready al his call with 
their voluntary services. 

Beethoven's love of nature was already a mark.d (rail of 
his character. This was indulged and stn-ngthcnrd by h.ng 
rambles upon the lofty liills and in tJic exfiuisiteiy bcaiiliful vallrys 
which render the environs of Vienna to the north and west so 
charming. Hence, wlien he left tlic city to spend tlie hot summer 



25'-2 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

months in the country, with but an exception or two in a long 
series of years, his residence was selected with a view to the in- 
dulgence of this noble passion. Hence, too, his great delight 
in the once celebrated work of Christian Sturm: "Beobachtungen 
iiber die Werke Gottes," which, however absurd much of its nat- 
ural philosophy (in the old editions) appears now in the light 
of advanced knowledge, was then by far the best manual of 
popular scientific truth, and was unsurpassed in fitness to awaken 
and foster a taste for, and the understanding of, the beauties of 
nature. Schindler has recorded the master's life-long study and 
admiration of this book. It was one which cherished his vener- 
ation for the Creator and Preserver of the universe, and yet left 
his contempt for procrustean religious systems and ecclesiastical 
dogmas its free course. "To him, who, in the love of Nature, 
holds communion with her visible forms, she speaks a various 
language," says Bryant. Her language was thoroughly well un- 
derstood by Beethoven; and when, in sorrow and affliction, his 
art, his Plutarch, his "Odyssey," proved to be resources too feeble 
for his comfort, he went to Nature for solace, and rarely failed 
to find it. 

Art has been so often disgraced by the bad morals and shame- 
less lives of its votaries, that it is doubly gratifying to be able to 
affirm of Beethoven that, like Handel, Bach and Mozart, he 
did honor to his profession by his personal character and habits. 
Although irregular, still he was as simple and temperate in eating 
and drinking as was possible in the state of society in which he 
lived. That he was no inordinate lover of wine or strong drinks 
is certain. No allusion is remembered in any of his letters, notes, 
memoranda, nor in the Conversation Books, which indicates a 
liking for any game of chance or skill. He does not appear to 
have known one playing-card from another. Music, books, con- 
versation with men and women of taste and intelligence, dancing, 
according to Ries (who adds that he could never learn to dance 
in time — but Beethoven's dancing days were soon over — ), and, 
above all, his long walks, were his amusements and recreations. 
His whim for riding was of short duration — at all events, the 
last allusion to any horse owned by him is in the anecdote on a 
previous page. 

One rather delicate point demands a word : and surely, what 
Franklin in his autobiography could confess of himself, and Lock- 
hart mention without scruple of Walter Scott, his father-in-law, 
need not be here suppressed. Nor can it well be, since a false 
assumption on the point has been made the basis already of a 



Beethoven's Moil\l Principles Q53 

considerable quantity of fine writing, and emj^loyed to explain 
certain facts relative to Beethoven's compositions. Spending 
his whole hfe in a state of society in which the vow of celibacy 
was by no means a vow of chastity; in which the parentage of a 
cardinal's or archbishop's children was neither a secret nor a 
disgrace; in which the illegitimate offspring of princes and mag- 
nates were proud of their descent and formed upon it well-grounded 
hopes of advancement and success in life; in which the moderate 
gratification of the sexual was no more discountenanced than 
the satisfying of any other natural appetite — it is nonsense to 
suppose, that, under such circumstances, Beethoven could liave 
puritanic scruples on that point. Those who have had occasion 
and opportunity to ascertain the facts, know that he had not, 
and are also aware that he did not always escape the couinion 
penalties of transgressing the laws of strict purity. But lie hail 
too much dignity of character ever to take part in scenes of low 
debauchery, or even when still young to descend to the familiar 
jesting once so common between tavern girls and tlie guests. 
Thus, as the elder Simrock related, upon the journey to jNIergent- 
heim recorded in the earlier pages of this work, it haj)pened at 
some place where the company dined, that some of the young 
men prompted the waiting-girl to play off her charms upon Beet- 
hoven. He received her advances and famiharities with reixHent 
coldness; and as she, encouraged by the others, still persevered, 
he lost his patience, and put an end to her importunities by a 
smart box on the ear. 

The practice, not uncommon in his time, of living with an 
unmarried woman as a wife, was always abhorrent to luin - 
how much so, a sad story will hereafter ilhistrate; to a still greater 
degree an intrigue with the wife of another man. In his later 
years he so broke off Iiis once familiar intercourse with a <iis- 
tinguished composer and conductor of Vienna, as hardly to ii hmi 
his greetings with common i)oliteness. Scliindler allirined tli;il 
the only reason for this was that tlie man in (|neslion had taken 
to his bed and board the wife of another. 

The names of two married womt-n might bo here given, to 
whom at a later period IJeetJioven wa,s warmly atfaehed; nanuvs 
which ]iai)pily have hitherto escaped tlie eyes of literary .scnvengers. 
and arc therefore liere supi)ressed. Certain of liis friends used 
to joke him about these ladies, and it is certain that he rather 
enjoyed their jests even when the insinuations, that his afTeetion 
was beyond the limit of the Platonic, were somewhat broad; but 
careful enquiry has failed to elicit any evidence that even in these 



254 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven ' 

cases he proved unfaithful to his principles. A story related by 
Jahn is also to the point, viz. : that Beethoven only by the urgent 
solicitations of the Czerny family was after much refusal persuaded 
to extemporize in the presence of a certain Madame Hofdemel. 
She was the widow of a man who had attempted her life and then 
committed suicide; and the refusal of Beethoven to play before 
her arose from his having the general belief at the time, that a 
too great intimacy had existed between her and Mozart. Jahn, 
it may be observed, has recently had the great satisfaction of 
being able to prove the innocence of Mozart in this matter and 
of rescuing his memory from the only dark shadow which rested 
upon it. This much on this topic it has been deemed necessary 
to say here, not only for the reason above given, but to put an 
end to long-prevailing misconceptions and misconstructions of 
passages in Beethoven's letters and private memoranda and to 
save farther comment when they shall be introduced hereafter. 

Beethoven's fine sense for the lyric element in poetry was 
already conspicuous in the fine tact with which the texts of his 
songs, belonging in date to his last years in Bonn, were selected 
from the annual publications in which most of them appeared. 
Another fine proof of this is afforded by a glance through the older 
editions of Matthisson's poems. In the fourth (1797), there are 
but two which are really well adapted to composition in the song- 
form — the "Adelaide" and "Das Opferlied." A third Beethoven 
left unfinished. He had doubtless been led to attempt its com- 
position through the force of its appeal to his personal feelings 
and sympathies, but soon discovering its non-lyrical character 
abandoned it. It is the "Wunsch." 

Rochlitz in his letters from Vienna (1822) reports Beethoven's 
humorous account of his enthusiasm for Klopstock in his early 
life: 

Since that summer in Carlsbad I read Goethe every day, that 
is, when I read at all. He (Goethe) has killed Klopstock for me. You 
are surprised? And now you laugh? Ah ha! It is because I have 
read Klopstock. I carried him about with me for years while walking 
and also at other times. Well, I did not always understand him, of 
course. He leaps about so much and he begins at too lofty an elevation. 
Always 3/ae5<o.?o, D-flat major! Isn't it so? But he is great and uplifts 
the soul nevertheless. When I could not understand him I could sort 
of guess. If only he did not always want to die! That will come quickly 
enough. Well, it always sounds well, at any rate, etc. 

Thus, whatever scattered hints bearing upon the point come 
under our notice combine to impart a noble idea of Beethoven's 
poetic taste and culture, and to show that the allusions to the 



Beethoven as a Letter- Writer 25 



xoo 



ancient classic authors in his letters and conversation were not 
made for display, but were the natural consequence of a love 
for and a hearty appreciation of them derived from their frequent 
perusal in translations. 

Beethoven's correspondence forms so important a portion 
of his biography that something must be said here upon his 
character as a letter-wTiter. A few of his autograph letters bear 
marks of previous study and careful elaboration; but, in general, 
whatever he wrote in the way of private correspondence was 
dashed off on the spur of the moment, and with no thought that 
it would ever come under any eye but that for wliich it was in- 
tended. It is therefore easy to imagine how energetically he 
would have protested could he have known that his most insig- 
nificant notes were preserved in such numbers, and that the time 
would come when they would all be made public; or, still worse, 
that some which were but the offspring of momentary picjue 
against those with whom he lived in closest relations would be 
used after his death to their injury; and that outbursts of 
sudden passion — when the wrong was perhaps as often on his 
side as on the other — after all the parties concerned had passed 
away, would have an almost judicial authority accorded to 
them. 

In studying a collection of some eight hundred of his letters 
and notes, ^ originals and copies in print or manuscript, the most 
striking fact is the insignificance of by far the greater number 
— that so few bear marks of any care in their preparatiou, or 
contain matter of any intrinsic value. In fact, perha|)s tJie greater 
part of the short notes to Zmeskall and otjiers owe tlieir origin 
to Beethoven's dislike of entrusting oral messages to his servants. 
For the most part it is in vain to seek in his correspondence 
anything bearing upon the theory or art of nuisic; very seldom 
is any opinion expressed upon tlie i)ro(luetions of any contem- 
porary composer; no vivid sketches of men and manners flow 
from his pen, like those which render the letters of Mo/art and 
Mendelssohn so charming. The jiroportion of their <-orres|)ond- 
ence wliich possesses more than a merely biographical value was 
large; of Beethoven's very small. 

His letters, of course, exhibit tlie usual imp«Tfections of a 
hasty and confidential correspondence; .sometimes, inch-ed, of an 
aggravated character. Some of them contain loose statements 

>The numluT of known Ifttirs and floriimcnl.i tmi ki"""" Rrmtly pinrr ThAvrr 
wrote these words. Kalischc-r's Collortion niimlirrd over lidO nnd Kmrnrh Kanlnrr 
gives the 6rst lines of i;}H()in Frimmels second "Ue<lhovcn Jahrljurh" puhlmhrd in IttOtt. 



2o() The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

of fact, such as all men are liable to make through haste or 
imperfect knowledge; others contain passages of which the only 
conceivable explanation is Schindler's statement that Beethoven 
sometimes amused himself with the harmless mystification of 
others; but, taken together, the more important letters — while 
they usually evince his difficulty in finding the best expressions 
of his thoughts and his constant struggle with the rules of his 
mother tongue — place his truth and candor in a very favorable 
light and sometimes rise into a rude eloquence. The reader feels 
that when the writer is unjust he is under the influence of a mis- 
take or passion — and, as a rule, it is not too late to detect such 
injustice; that his errors of fact are simply mistakes, honestly 
made and easilj'^ corrected; that if, in the mass, a few paragraphs 
occur which can be neither fully justified nor excused, it is not 
to be forgotten that they were not intended for our eyes and that 
they were written under the constant pressure of a great calamity, 
which made him doubly sensitive and irritable; and so it will 
be easy, like Sterne's Recording Angel, to blot such passages with 
a tear. 

Another striking fact of Beethoven's correspondence, when 
viewed as a whole, is the proof it affords that, except in his hours 
of profound depression, he was far from being the melancholy 
and gloomy character of popular belief. He shows himself here 
— as he was by nature — of a gay and lively temperament, fond of 
a jest, an inveterate though not always a very happy punster, 
a great lover of wit and humor. It is a cause for profound 
gratitude that it was so; since he thus preserved an elasticity 
of spirits that enabled him to escape the consequences of brooding 
in solitude over his great misfortune; to rise superior to his fate 
and concentrate his great powers upon his self-imposed tasks; and 
to meet with hope and courage the cruel fortune which put an 
end to so many well-founded expectations and ambitious projects, 
and confined him to a single road to fame and honor — that of 
composition. It happens that several of the more valuable and 
interesting of his letters belong to the period immediately follow- 
ing that now before us, and in them we are able to trace, with 
reasonable accuracy, the effect which his incipient and increasing 
deafness produced upon him — first, the anxiety caused by earliest 
symptoms; then the profound grief bordering upon despair when 
the final result had become certain; and at last his submission 
to and acceptance of his fate. There is in truth something nobly 
heroic in the manner in which Beethoven at length rose superior 
to his great affliction. The magnificent series of works produced 



Beethoven axd His Sketchbooks 257 

in the ten years from 1798 to 1808 are no greater monuments 
to his genius than to the godlike resokition with which he wrought 
out the inspirations of that genius under circumstances most 
fitted to weaken its efforts and restrain its energies. 

Beethoven was seldom without a folded sheet or two of 
music paper in his pocket upon which he wrote with pencil in 
two or three measures of music hints of any musical thought 
which might occur to him w^herever he chanced to be. Towards 
the end of his life his Conversation Books often answered the 
same purpose; and there are traditions of bills-of-fare at dining- 
rooms having been honored with ideas afterwards made immortal. 
This habit gave Abbe Gelinek a foundation for the following 
amusing nonsense as related by Tomaschek: "He (Gelinek) de- 
clared," says Tomaschek, 

as if it were an aphorism, that all of Beethoven's compositions were 
lacking in internal coherency and that not infrequently they were over- 
loaded. These things he looked upon as grave faults of composition 
and sought to explain them from the manner in which Beethoven went 
about his work, saying that he had always been in the habit of noting 
every musical idea that occurred to him upon a bit of paper which he 
threw into a corner of his room, and that after a while there was a <'on- 
siderable pile of the memoranda which the maid was not permitted to touch 
when cleaning the room. Now when Beethoven got into a mood for 
work he would hunt a few musical rnotivi out of his treasure-heap which 
he thought might serve as principal and secondary themes for the com- 
position in contemplation, and often his selection was not a lucky one. 
I (Tomaschek) did not interrupt the flow of his passionate, yet awkward 
speech, but briefly answered that I was unf;imiliar with l^'cfhoveu's 
method of composing })ut was inclined to think that the alxTralions 
occasionally to be found in his com|)ositions w<Te to l)e ascribed to his 
individuality, and that only an unprejudiced and ke<>n psychologist, 
who had had an oppf)rtunity t() observe Becllioveu from the betrinning 
of his artistic development to its maturity in order gradually to familiar- 
ize himself with his views on art, could fit himself to give the musical 
world an explanation of the intellectual cross-relationships in licet hoven's 
glorious works, a thing just ;is im[)ossil)l«« to his blind entliusiusts as 
to his virulent op[)onents. Gelinek may have api)lied these hisl wortls 
to himself, and not incorrectly. 

This conversation took f)lace in IS 11, the day after a re- 
hearsal of Beethoven's Symi)hony in A — the Seventh! (ielinek's 
pile of little bits of paper in tJie corner of the room, when toucluMJ 
by the wand of truth, resolves itself into blank music books, to 
which his new ideas were transferred from the original .slight 
pencil sketches, and frequently with two or three words to in«li- 
cate the kind of composition to which they were suited. I)iver.s 
anecdotes are current which pretend to give the origin of some 



2o8 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

of the themes thus recorded and afterwards wrought out, but 
few judicious readers will attach much weight to most of them. 
For although conceptions can sometimes be traced directly to 
their exciting causes, the musical composer can seldom say more 
than that they occurred to him at such a time and place — and 
often not even that. It is certainly not improbable that Beet- 
hoven's admirers may have questioned him upon this point, as 
Schindler did upon the "Pastoral" Symphony, and that he was 
able to satisfy them; but Handel's "Harmonious Blacksmith" 
may be taken as the type of most of the current stories, which 
only need truth to make them interesting. 

To return to the sketchbooks — which performed a twofold 
office; being not alone the registers of new conceptions, but con- 
taining the preliminary studies of the instrumental works into 
which they were wrought out. The introduction to the excellent 
pamphlet, "Ein Skizzenbuch von Beethoven, beschrieben und 
in Ausziigen dargestellt von Gustav Nottebohm," though properly 
confined by him to the single book which he was describing, is 
equally true of so many that have been examined with care as 
to warrant its general application. The following extracts may 
be taken as true of the greater part of the sketchbooks: 

Before us (he says) lies a volume in oblong folio (Teatro) of 192 
pages and bearing 16 staves on each page, and, save a few empty places, 
containing throughout notes and sketches in Beethoven's handwriting for 
compositions of various sorts. The volume is bound in craftsman's 
style, trimmed, and has a stout pasteboard cover. It was bound thus 
before it was used or received the notes. [Excepting the number of 
pages this description applies to most of the true sketchbooks.] The 
sketches are for the greater part one-part; that is, they occupy but a 
single staff, only exceptionally are they on two or more staves. [In 
some of the later books the proportion of sketches in two or more parts 
is much greater than in this.] It is permissible to assume in advance that 
they were written originally and in the order in which they follow each 
other in the sketchbook. When a cursory glance over the whole does 
not seem to contradict this assumption, a careful study nevertheless 
compels a modification at times. It is to be observed that generally 
Beethoven began a new page with a new composition; and, moreover, 
that he worked alternately or simultaneously at different movements. 
As a result, different groups of sketches are crowded so closely together 
that in order to find room he was obliged to make use of spaces which 
had been left open, and thus eventually sketches for the most different 
compositions had to be mixed together and brought into companion- 
ship. [In some of the books "vi-" not infrequently meets the eye. It 
was the one of Beethoven's modes of keeping the clue in the labyrinth 
of sketches, being part of the word vide. The second syllable, "-de," 
can always be found on the same or a neighboring page. "N.B.," 



How THE Sketching Was Done 259 

"No. 100," "No. 500," "No. 1000," etc., and in later sketches "raeilleur." 
are common, all which signs are explained by Schindler as being a whim- 
sical mode of estimating the comparative value of different musical ideas, 
or of forms of the same. Again Nottebohm continues: In spite of 
this confused working it is plain that Beethoven, as a rule, was conscious 
from the beginning of the goal for which he was striving, that he was 
true to his first concept and carried out the projected form to tlie end. 
The contrary is also true at times, and the sketchbook (like others) 
disclosed a few instances in which Beethoven in the course was led from 
the form originally conceived into another, so that eventually something 
different appeared from what was planned in the first instance. (Once 
more.) In general it may be observed that Beethoven in all his work 
begun in the sketchbook proceeded in the most varied manner, and at 
times reached his goal in a direction opposite to that upon which he 
first set out. [At times] the thematic style dominates; the first 
sketch breaks off abruptly with the principal subject and the work that 
follows is confined to transforming and reshaping the thematic kernel 
at first thrown on the paper until it appears to befitted for devel<)j)inent; 
then the same process is undertaken with intermediary sections; every- 
where we find beginnings, never a whole; a whole comes before us only 
outside of the sketchbook, in the printed composition where six-tions 
which were scattered in the sketchbook are brought together. [In 
other cases] the thematic manner is excluded; every sketch is aimed 
at a unity and is complete in itself; the very first one gives the coniplrte 
outline for a section of a movement; those that follow are then complete 
reshapings of the first, as other readings directed towards a change in 
the summary character, or a reformation of the whole, an extension of 
the middle sections, etc. Naturally, the majority of the sketches do not 
belong exclusively to either of the two tendencies, but hover between 
them, now leaning toward one, now toward the other. 

One readily sees that, when the general plan of a work is 
clear and distinct before the mind, it is (piitc indilTcrcnt in what 
order the various parts arc studied; and that Bcclhoven .sinii)ly 
adopted the method of numy a dramatic and other author, who 
sketches his scenes or chaj)tcrs not in course Imt as mood, fancy 
or opportunity dictates. It is equally evident that the composer 
could have half a dozen works upon his hands at tlir sauu« time, 
not merely without (lisadvantag<; to any one of them, but to the 
gain of all, since he could turn to one or another as tin- spirit of 
composition impelled; like tin; author of a profound iit.-rary work, 
who relieves and recreates liis nn'ud by varying iiis ial>ors. and 
executes his grand task all the more .satisfactorily, hernuse lir. 
from time to time, refresJu-s himself by turning )»is attention to 
other and lighter topics. WJicn Beethoven writ.-s to Weg.ler: 
"As I am writing now I oft<-n compose three or four pieces nt 
once," he could have referred only to the |)rcliM.inary stu.lies of 
the sketchbooks. Sometimes, it is true, w.)rks were laid a.sidc 



2G0 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

incomplete after he had begun the task of writing them out in 
full, and finished when occasion demanded; but as a rule his 
practice was quite different, viz.: All the parts of a work having 
been thus studied until he had determined upon the form, character 
and style of every important division and subdivision, and re- 
corded the results in his sketchbook by a few of the first measures, 
followed by "etc." or "and so on," the labor of composition may 
be said to have been finished, and there remained only the task 
of writing out the clean copy of what now existed full and com- 
plete in his mind, and of making such minor corrections and 
improvements as might occur to him on revision. The manu- 
scripts show that these were sometimes very numerous, though 
they rarely extend to any change in the form or to any alteration 
in the grand effect except to heighten it, or render it more unex- 
pected or exciting. When upon reflection he was dissatisfied 
with a movement as a whole he seems rarely to have attempted 
its improvement by mere correction, choosing rather to discard 
it at once and compose a new one based either upon the same 
themes or upon entirely new motives. The several overtures to 
"Fidelio" are illustrations of both procedures. 

The sketches of the greater part of Beethoven's songs, after 
the Bonn period, are preserved, and prove with what extreme 
care he wrought out his melodies. The sketchbook analysed by 
Nottebohm affords a curious illustration in Matthison's "Opfer- 
lied," the melody being written out in full not less than six times, 
the theme in substance remaining unchanged. Absolute cor- 
rectness of accent, emphasis, rhythm — of prosody, in short — 
was with him a leading object; and various papers, as well as 
the Conversation Books, attest his familiarity with metrical 
signs and his scrupulous obedience to metrical laws. Since the 
shameful mutilation and dispersion of Beethoven's manuscripts 
at the time of their sale, probably no one person has been able 
to trace and examine half of the sketchbooks; still, enough have 
come under observation during the researches for this work to 
estaVjlish with reasonable certainty these points : 

I. That each sketchbook was filled in pretty regular course 
from beginning to end before a new one was taken. 

II. That had the collection been kept entire it would have 
afforded the means of determining with a good degree of certainty 
the chronology of most of his instrumental works, after coming 
to Vienna, as to their first conception and studies — excluding, 
of course, those which, in one form or another, he brought with 
him from Bonn. 



Symptoms of Approachixg Del\fxess 261 

III. That the more important vocal compositions were 
studied separately. 

IV. That only from the sketchbooks can an adequate idea of 
the vast fertility of Beethoven's genius be formed. They are 
in music, Hke Hawthorne's "Notebooks" in literature, the record 
of a never ceasing flow of new thoughts and ideas, until death 
sealed the fountain forever. There are themes and hints, never 
used, for all kinds of instrumental compositions, from the trities, 
which he called "Bagatelles," to symphonies, evidently intemled 
to be as different from those we know as they are from each otlier; 
and these hints are in such numbers, that those which can be 
traced in the published works are perhaps much the smalliT 
proportion of the whole. Whoever has the will and opportunity 
to devote an hour or two to an examination of a few of these 
monuments of Beethoven's inventive genius, will easily conii>re- 
hend the remark which he made near the close of his life: "It 
seems to me that I have just begun to compose!"^ 

One topic more demands brief notice before closing tliis 
chapter. In the "Merrymaking of the Countryfolk" of Beet- 
hoven's "Pastoral" Symphony, at the point wliere the fun grows 
most fast and furious and the excitement rises to its lieiglit. an 
ominous sound, as of distant thunder, gives the first faint warn- 
ing of the coming storm. So in the life of the composer at the 
moment of that highest success and prosperity, which wc lia\«' 
labored to place vividly before the mind of the reader, jn>f when 
he could first look forward with well-grounded confidence to tin- 
noblest gratification of a musician's honorable anil)iti<)n. a new 
and discordant element thrust itself into the harmony of Ids lif«'. 
This was the .symptoms of approaching deafness. His own 
account fixes their appearance in the year 17J)!); then they w<Te 
still so feeble and intermittent, as to liave cansed iiiin at lirst no 
serious anxiety; but in another year tliey had assnined so nmcli tli<- 
appearance of a chronic and increasing evil, as to compel Jijni to 
abandon plans for travel which lie had formed, and for wiucli Jie wixa 



I 

rv 



•Opportunities for studyinj? B.-.-thovcn'fi »k«'lrhl)ookn luivr jtrrntly incrm.r. 
Bince Mr. Thayer wrote tlwHC words. Notl.l)olim. who rcinl.Trd nti wkhIiiiUIiIo mrviri 
to all students of the >?r<-at ronii)r.Mer uft.r Ih.- I...<.k from wlii<h f.iir Aiilh.ir .jiinira, 
piiMished a volume entitled " Ue.l hoveniaiia" in \H7i. and a ».r<..nd rnlill.d '•/«rijc 
Heethoveniana" in IHH7. To tli.se the revisors of this I.K.Krnphv have r,p.-ntpdly 
referred in traeinj? the history of Jleetlioven's rompomlionn. A r..lle<li..n uf "k-t. Iiri 
formerly owned by J. N. Kafka and now in the Hrili.sh Museum wan dn.. nl.r.l l.y 
Mr J S Shedioek in "The .Musieal Times" (July to Dreemhrr. IHOi). A vohimo 
containing sketehes for the Inst qnartels i.s at the present writinK in the p...i.r«,,on 
of Mr. Ceeiiio do Roda of Ma.lri.i and was d.-s,rit,e,j l.y the Kiv„l« I<nl«»n« '^'»''- 
XI-XIV. 1907) and also pnhiished in pamphlet form un.ler the title I n giin.lrena 
di autogra6 di Beethoven del 1825." 



262 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

preparing himself, with great industry and perseverance, to appear in 
the twofold capacity of virtuoso and composer. Instead, therefore, 
in 1801, of having "long since journeyed through half the world," 
he, for two years, had been confined to Vienna or its immediate 
vicinity, vainly seeking relief from surgeons and physicians. 

It is not difficult to imagine calamities greater than that 
which now threatened Beethoven — as, the loss of sight to a Raphael 
or Rubens in the height of their fame and powers; a partial 
paralysis or other incurable disease of the brain cutting short the 
career of a Shakespeare or Goethe, a Bacon or Kant, a Newton 
or Humboldt. Better the untimely fate of a Buckle, than to 
live long years of unavailing regret over the blasted hopes and 
promise of early manhood. In such cases there remains no 
resource; hope itself is dead. But to Beethoven, even if his 
worst fears should prove prophetic and his infirmity at length 
close all prospects of a career as virtuoso and conductor, the field 
of composition still remained open. This he knew, and it saved 
him from utter despair. Who can say that the world has not 
been a gainer by a misfortune which stirred the profoundest 
depths of his being and compelled the concentration of all his 
powers into one direction.'* 

As the disease made progress and the prospect of relief became 
less, notwithstanding a grief and anxiety which caused him such 
mental agony as even to induce the thought of suicide, he so well 
succeeded in keeping it concealed from all but a few intimate 
and faithful friends, that no notice whatever is to be found of 
it until 1802 except in papers from his own hand. They form 
a very touching contrast to his letters to other correspondents. 
Neither the head nor the heart is to be envied of the man who 
can read them without emotion. The two most important are 
letters to Wegeler giving full details of his case; doubly valuable 
because they are not merely letters to a friend, but an elaborate 
account of the symptoms and medical treatment of his disease, 
made to a physician of high standing who thoroughly under- 
stood the constitution of the patient. They are therefore alike 
significant for what they contain and for what they omit. No 
hypothesis as to the cause of the evil can be entertained, which 
is discordant with them. Reserving them, however, for their 
proper places in the order of time, a story or two inconsistent 
with them may here be disposed of. 

The so-called Fischoff Manuscript says: 

In the year 1796, Beethoven, on a hot summer day, came greatly 
overheated to his home, threw open doors and windows, disrobed down 



Theories as to the Loss of He-\ring 263 

to his trousers and cooled himself in a draft at the open window. The 
consequence was a dangerous sickness which, on his convalescence, settled 
in his organs of hearing, and from this time his deafness steadily increased. 

In this passage both the date and the averment are irrecon- 
cilable with the letters to Wegeler. 

Dr. Weissenbach, in his "Reise zum Congress" (1814), gives 
what appears to be the same story but in fewer words. "He 
(Beethoven) once endured a fearful attack of typhus. From 
this time dates the decay of his nervous system, and probai)Iy 
also the, to him, great misfortune of the loss of hearing." Neitlier 
a typhus nor a typhoid fever is a matter of a few days or weeks 
if severe; and the chronology of our narrative is, to say the least, 
so far fixed and certain as to exclude the possibility of his having 
passed through any very serious illness of that nature since he 
came to Vienna. But it is not at all improbable that, in 1784 
or 1785, he may have been a victim to this frightful disijrdcr, 
and that it may have been the cause of his melancholy condition 
of health at the time of his mother's death, and of the chronic 
diarrhoea with which he was so long troubled. True, there is 
no record of such an illness; but that proves nothing. There is 
no record that he passed through an attack of small-pox, except 
that which the disease left upon his face. 

But the most extraordinary and inexplicable account of the 
origin of his deafness is that given by Beethoven himself to tlie 
English pianist, Charles Neate, in 1815. Mr. Ncate was once 
urging Beethoven to visit Pmgland and mentioned as a farther 
inducement the great skill of certain P^nglish i)jiysicians in treat- 
ing diseases of the ear, assuring him tJiat he might cherish hoi)es 
of relief. Beethoven replied in substance as follows: "No; I 
have already had all sorts of medical advice. I shall never b.' 
cured — I will tell you how it liappened. I was once busy writing 
an opera — 

Neate: "Fidelio.^" 

Beethoven: "No. It was not 'Fidelio.' I had a very dl- 
tempered, troublesome primo tcnorc to <leal with. I )iad already 
written two grand airs to the same t<'xt, with which he was <lis.satis- 
fied, and now a third whidi, upon trial, lie .secnn-d t«) approve aii<i 
took away with him. I thanked tlie stars that 1 was at leii^rlh 
rid of him and sat down iininediafely to a work wliicli I liad 
laid aside for tliose airs and wliicli I was anxious to finish. I 
had not been half an liour at work, when I Iward a kn(K-k at my 
door, which I at once recognized as that of my ]nimn tnwre. I 
sprang up from my table under sucJi an excitement of rage, that, 



264 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

as the man entered the room, I threw myself upon the floor as 
they do upon the stage (here B. spread out his arms and made 
a gesture of illustration), coming down upon my hands. When 
I arose I found myself deaf and have been so ever since. The 
physicians say, the nerve is injured." 

That Beethoven really related this strange story cannot be 
questioned; the word of the venerable Charles Neate to the 
author is sufficient on that point. What is to be thought of it, 
is a very different matter. Here at least it may stand without 
comment. 



Chapter XVIII 

Beethoven's Brothers — His First Concert on His Own Ac- 
count — Punto and the Sonata for Horn — Steihelt Con- 
founded — E. A. Forster and the First Quartets — The 
Septet and First Symphony — Beethoven's Homes — 
Hoffmeister — Compositions and PubHcations of ISOO. 

IT is not easy to conceive upon what ground the opinion 
became current, as it did, that Beethoven in the year ISOO and 

for several years to come was still burdened witli t]ie support of 
his brothers — young men now respectively in their !2Gth and "-i^tli 
years. This mistake as to Johann has already been exposed. 
Leaving Ludwig for the first quarter of this year donbly busy — 
having, in addition to his usual occupations, his preparations to 
make for a grand concert in April — we turn, for a page, to his 
brother Carl. 

In the "Hof- und Staats-Schematisnuis" for tlu* year IS(M), 
at the end of the list of persons employed in the "K. K. rniversal- 
Staatschuldenkasse" are the names of two "Praktikanten"; tlie 
first is "Mr. Carl v. Beethoven lives in the Sterngasse, 4Si." 
In the same publication a|)j)ears a new department or bureau 
of the above-named office called tlie "K. K. n. (ist. Klas.sen-Sf<Mirr- 
Kasse" and the second of the tliree bureau officers is "Mr. Carl v. 
Beethoven lives unterm 'J'uchladen, (l(h>." 

It is not improbable; tiiat, while siini)ly "Prakt ikaiit." lie 
may have needed occasional pecuniary aid, but liis |)rrf(rni('nt 
to the place of "Kassa-Officier" rendered him independent. TJ>i.s 
appointment is dated March 24th, IHOO, and gave Jiim a salary 
of 2.30 florins. Small as the sum now appears, it was amply 
sufficient, with what he could earn by teaching music (and the 
brother of the great Beetiioven ct)uld liave no lack <)f pupils', 
to enable him to live comfortably. In fact, he was b.-ttrr <»IT 
than many a colleague in tlu' public s<Tvice, wlio still wifli <are 
and economy managed to live resfx-ctably. It may therefore 
be confidently asserted that Beetiioven was henccfortJj relieved 



2GG The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

of all care on account of Carl, as of Johann, until the bankruptcy 
of the government and Carl's broken health many years later, 
made fraternal assistance indispensable. 

At the beginning of this year Carl had tried his fortune as a 
composer — but probably with slender profit, since no second 
venture has been discovered. Six minuets, six "Deutsche" and 
six contradances by him are advertised in the "Wiener Zeitung" 
of January 11, in double editions, one for clavier and one for 
two violins and violoncello. The concert for which Beethoven 
had been preparing during the winter took place on the 2d of 
April. It was his first public appearance for his own benefit in 
Vienna, and, so far as is known, anywhere except in Prague. 
All that is now to be ascertained in relation to it is contained in 
the advertisement, in the programme, and in a single notice, 
sent to the "Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung." The programme, 
which was in the possession of Madame van Beethoven (widow 
of the composer's nephew) is as follows: 

To-day, Wednesday, April 2nd, 1800, Herr Ludwig van Beethoven 
will have the honor to give a grand concert for his benefit in the Royal 
Imperial Court Theatre beside the Burg. The pieces which will be 
performed are the following: 

1. A grand symphony by the late Chapelmaster Mozart. 

2. An aria from "The Creation" by the Princely Chapelmaster Herr 
Haydn, sung by Mile. Saal. 

3. A grand Concerto for the Pianoforte, played and composed by Herr 
Ludwig van Beethoven. 

4. A Septet, most humbly and obediently dedicated to Her Majesty 
the Empress, and composed by Herr Ludwig van Beethoven for four 
stringed and three wind-instruments, played by Messrs. Schuppan- 
zigh, Schreiber, Schindlecker, Bar, Nickel, Matauschek and Dietzel. 

5. A Duet from Haydn's "Creation," sung by Mr. and Mile. Saal. 

6. Herr Ludwig van Beethoven will improvise on the pianoforte. 

7. A new grand symphony with complete orchestra, composed by Herr 
Ludwig van Beethoven. 



Tickets for boxes and stalls are to be had of Herr van Beethoven at 
his lodgings in the Tiefen Graben, No. 241, third storey, and of the 
box-keeper. 



Prices of admission are as usual. 



The beginning is at half-past 6 o'clock. 



A Public Concert with Punto 267 

The correspondent of the "Allgemeine MusikaHsche Zeitung" 
described the concert as the most interesting affair of its kind 
given for a long time, said the new concerto had "many beauties, 
especially in the first two movements," praised the "taste and 
feeling" exhibited in the Septet, and in the Symphony found 
"much art, novelty and wealth of ideas"; but, he continues: 
"unfortunately there was too much use of the wind-instruments, 
so that the music sounded more as if written for a military band 
than an orchestra." The rest of the notice is devoted to scolding 
the band for inattention to the conductor. Which of the piano- 
forte Concertos Beethoven played on this occasion is nowhere 
intimated. The Symphony in C soon became known throughout 
Germany; while the Septet achieved a sudden popularity so 
widely extended and enduring as at length to become an annoy- 
ance to the composer. ^ 

Before the month was out Beethoven again played in public 
in a concert given by Johann Stich, known as Punto. This 
Bohemian virtuoso, after several years of wandering, had lately 
come to Vienna from Paris, via Munich. As a performer upon 
the horn he was unrivalled by any predecessor or contemporary; 
but as a composer he was beneath criticism. Beethoven's delight 
in any one whose skill afforded him new experience of the powers 
and possible effects of any orchestral instrument is known to the 
reader. Nothing more natural, therefore, than his readiness to 
compose a sonata for himself and Punto to be played at the 
latter's concert on April 18th. Ries informs us that "though the 
concert was announced with the Sonata the latter was not yet 
begun. Beethoven began the work the day before the perform- 
ance and it was ready for the concert." His habit of merely 
sketching his own part and of trusting to his memory and the 
inspiration of the moment, even when producing his grand Con- 
certos in public, probably rendered him good service on this occa- 
sion. The "Allgemeine Musikzeitung" (III, 704) preserves also 
the interesting fact tliat owing to the enthusiastic applause the 
Sonata was immediately repeated. 

April 27th was the anniversary of the day on wjiicli 
Maxiniilinn PVanz entered Bonn to assume the <lnties of Elector 
and Ar(Jil)is]i()i). Sixteen years had i)assed and on this day he, 
with a small retinue, again entered Vienna. II(^ took refnge "in 
an Esterhazy villa in a suburb," while the small cJiateau near 

•"IIo could not rnfliiro liis Sopfot nnd prcw nnpry boraiisf of iho iinivrrsa! npplansc 
with whifh it was receivL-d." (Czcrny to Jahn.) "Tb<; tbt-me of the variali«»u.s is buid 
to be a Rhenish folksong." (Ibid.) 



268 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

which now stands the railway station at Hetzendorf, behind 
Schonbrunn Garden, was preparing for his residence; whither he 
soon removed, and where for the present we leave him. 

At the end of February or early in March, the charlatan 
Daniel Steibelt gave a concert in Prague which brought him in 
1800 florins, and in April or May, "having finished his speculation, 
he went to Vienna, his purse filled with ducats, where he was 
knocked in the head by the pianist Beethoven," says Tomaschek. 
Ries relates how: 

When Steibelt came to Vienna with his great name, some of Beet- 
hoven's friends grew alarmed lest he do injury to the latter's reputation. 
Steibelt did not visit him; they met first time one evening at the house 
of Count Fries, where Beethoven produced his new Trio in B-flat major 
for Pianoforte, Clarinet and Violoncello (Op. 11), for the first time.^ 
There is no opportunity for particular display on the part of the pianist 
in this Trio. Steibelt listened to it with a sort of condescension, uttered 
a few compliments to Beethoven and felt sure of his victory. He played 
a Quintet of his own composition, improvised, and made a good deal of 
effect with his tremolos, which were then something entirely new. Beet- 
hoven could not be induced to play again. A week later there was 
again a concert at Count Fries's; Steibelt again played a quintet which 
had a good deal of success. He also played an improvisation (which 
had, obviously, been carefully prepared) and chose the same theme on 
which Beethoven had written variations in his Trio.^ This incensed 
the admirers of Beethoven and him; he had to go to the pianoforte and 
improvise. He went in his usual (I might say, ill-bred) manner to 
the instrument as if half-pushed, picked up the violoncello part of 
Steibelt's quintet in passing, placed it (intentionally.'') upon the stand 
upside down and with one finger drummed a theme out of the first few 
measures. Insulted and angered he improvised in such a manner that 
Steibelt left the room before he finished, would never again meet him 
and, indeed, made it a condition that Beethoven should not be invited 
before accepting an offer. 

It was, and still is, the custom at Vienna for all whose voca- 
tions and pecuniary circumstances render it possible, to spend 
all or some portion of the summer months in the country. 
The aristocracies of birth and wealth retire to their country-seats, 
live in villas for the season or join the throngs at the great water- 
ing-places; other classes find refuge in the villages and hamlets 
which abound in the lovely environs of the city, where many a 
neat cottage is built for their use and where the peasants generally 
have a spare room or two, cleanly kept and neatly furnished. 
Beethoven's habit of escaping from town during the hot months 

^This is, of course, an error, as the Trio had been before the public since October 
3rd. 1798. 

'From Weigl's "Corsair aus Liebe." 



Various Dwelling Pl.\ces in Vienna 269 

was, therefore, nothing peculiar to him. We have reached the 
point whence, with little if any interruption, Beethoven can be 
followed from house to house, in city and country, through the 
rest of his life; a matter of great value in fixing the true dates of 
important letters and determining the chronology of his life and 
works — but for the first seven years the record is very incomplete. 
Carl Holz told Jahn: "He (Beethoven) lived at first in a 
little attic-room in the house of the book-binder Strauss in the 
Alservorstadt, where he had a miserable time." This is one 
of the facts which an inquisitive young man like Holz would 
naturally learn of the master during the short period when he 
was his factotum. This attic-room must have been soon changed 
for the room "on the ground-floor" mentioned in a previous 
chapter. An undated note of van Swieten is directed to Beet- 
hoven at "No. 45 Alsergasse, at Prince Lichnowsky's" ; but in the 
Vienna directory for 1804 no street is so named, and the only 
number 45 in the "Alsergrund" is in the Lammelgasse, property of 
Georg Musial; but Prince Josef Lichnowsky is named as owner 
of No. 125 in the Hauptstrasse of that suburb. This was the 
same house; it had merely changed numbers. The site is now 
occupied by the house No. 30 Alserstrasse. Thence Beethoven 
went as a guest to the house occupied by Prince Lichnowsky. 
In May, 1795, Beethoven, in advertising the Trios, Op. 1, gives 
the "residence of the author" as the "Ogylisches Haus in the Kreuz- 
gasse behind the Minorite church. No. 35 in the first storey"; 
but that is no reason to think that Prince Lichnowsky then lived 
there. Where Beethoven was during the next few years has not 
been ascertained, but, as has been seen by the concert bill on a 
preceding page, he was during the winter of 1799-1800 in the 
Tiefen Graben "in a very high and narrow house," as Czerny 
wrote to F. Luib.^ For the summer of 1800, he took quarters 
for himself and servant in one of those houses in Unter-D(3bling, 
an hour's walk, perhaps, from town, to which the readiest access 
is by tiie bridge over the Ijrook on tJie North side of tJic D»)l)ling 
hospital for tlie insane. The wife of a distinguisjied Vienna 
advocate occupied with her children another part of the same 

'Acrordinj? to Frirnrnel, "Rcr-lhovcn's WoIiniing<ni," Vienna "None Frcio Prcsso," 
August 11, 18I>!>, this house was that of Court Couuciilor (Jrcin<T. then No. i^tl. after- 
wards 23.5, now No. 10 in the Tiefen Graben which, sli^jhlly altered, still rernnins. On 
the stren^^th of Gzerny's statement that one had to look up to the fifth f)r sixth storey 
to see Heethoven, and the old report that Heelhoven lived "in the Kleine Weintraniie," 
Frimmel was lerl to think that possihly he lived in one of t he houses on the hi^dier f,'round 
behind the Greiner house to whieh there was access from \.\tr. open place "Am llof" 
as well as from the houses in the Tiefen Graben and the Greiner hou.se. The houses 
which bore the sign "Zur Weintraube" were situated "am Hofe." 



270 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

house. One of these children was Grillparzer, afterward famous 
as a poet. The zeal with which Beethoven at this period labored 
to perfect his pianoforte playing, and his dislike to being listened 
to, have been already noted. Madame Grillparzer was a lady of 
fine taste and culture, fond of music and therefore able to appre- 
ciate the skill of her fellow-lodger, but ignorant of his aversion 
to listeners. Her son, in 1861, still remembered Beethoven's 
incessant practice and his mother's habit of standing outside her 
own door to enjoy his playing. This continued for some time; 
but one day Beethoven sprang from the instrument to the door, 
opened it, looked out to see if any one was listening, and unfor- 
tunately discovered the lady. From that moment he played no 
more. Madame Grillparzer, thus made aware of his sensitiveness 
on this point, informed him through his servant that thence- 
forth her door into the common passageway should be kept 
locked, and she and her family would solely use another. It 
was of no avail; Beethoven played no more. 

Another authentic and characteristic anecdote can belong 
only to this summer. There lived in a house hard by a peasant 
of no very good reputation, who had a daughter remarkably 
beautiful, but also not of the best fame. Beethoven was greatly 
captivated by her and was in the habit of stopping to gaze at 
her when he passed by where she was at work in farmyard or 
field. She, however, made no return of his evident liking and 
only laughed at his admiration. On one occasion the father was 
arrested for engaging in a brawl and iinprisoned. Beethoven took 
the man's part and went to the magistrates to obtain his release. 
Not succeeding, he became angry and abusive, and in the end 
would have been arrested for his impertinence but for the strong 
representations made by some, who knew him, of his position in 
society and of the high rank, influence and power of his friends. 

Throughout this period of Beethoven's life, each summer is 
distinguished by some noble composition, completed, or nearly 
so, so that on his return to the city it was ready for revision and 
his copyist. Free from the demands of society, his time was his 
own; his fancy was quickened, his inspiration strengthened, in 
field and forest labor was a delight. The most important work 
of the master bears in his own hand the date, 1800, and may 
reasonably be supposed to have been the labor of this summer. 
It is the Concerto in C minor for Pianoforte and Orchestra, Op. 37. 

At the approach of autumn Beethoven returned to his old 
quarters in the Tiefen Graben. In this year Krumpholz introduced 
to him Johann Emanuel (possibly Johann Nepomuk Emanuel) 



DOLEZALEK AND HOFFMEISTER 271 

Dolezalek, a young man of 20 years, born in Chotieborz in Bo- 
hemia, who had come to Vienna to take lessons from Albrechts- 
berger. He played the pianoforte and violoncello, was a capable 
musician, in his youth a rather popular composer of Bohemian 
songs and then, for half a century, one of the best teachers in 
the capital. Toward the close of his life he was frequently 
occupied with the arrangement of private concerts, chiefly quartet 
parties, for Prince Czartoryski and other prominent persons. As 
long as he lived he was an enthusiastic admirer of Beethoven, and 
enjoyed the friendship of the composer till his death. Among 
his observations are the statements concerning the hatred of 
Beethoven felt by the Vienna musicians already noted. Kozeluch, 
he relates, threw the C minor Trio at his (Dolezalek's) feet when 
the latter played it to him. Speaking of Beethoven, Kozeluch 
said to Haydn: "We would have done that differently, wouldn't 
we, Papa?" and Haydn answered, smilingly, *'Yes, we would 
have done that differently." Haydn, says Dolezalek, could not 
quite reconcile himself with Beethoven's music. It was Dolezalek 
who witnessed the oft-told scene in the Swan tavern when Beet- 
hoven insisted on paying without having eaten. 

One of the most prolific and popular composers whom Beet- 
hoven found in Vienna was Franz Anton Hoffmeister, "Chapel- 
master and R. I. licensed Music, Art and Book Seller." He was 
an immigrant from the Neckar valley and (born 1754) much 
older than Beethoven, to whom he had extended a warm sympathy 
and friendship, doubly valuable from his somewhat similar ex- 
perience as a young student in Vienna. This is evident from the 
whole tone of their correspondence. In 1800, Hoffmeister left 
Vienna and in Leipzig formed a copartnership with Ambrosius 
Kiihnel, organist of the Electoral Saxon Court Chapel, and estab- 
lished a publishing house there, still retaining his business in 
Vienna. As late as December 5, 1800, his signature is as al)Ove 
given; but on the 1st of January, 1801, the advertisements in 
the public press announce the firm of "Hoffmeister and Kiihnel, 
Bureau de Musique in Leipzig." Since 1814 the firm name has 
been C. F. Peters. Knowing Beethoven personally and so inti- 
mately, it is alike creditable to the talents of the one and the 
taste and ai)f)reciation of the other that Hoffmeister, immedi- 
ately upon organizing his new ])ublishing liouse, shonld have 
asked him for niarnis(rii)ts. To liis letter he received an answer 
dated Dec. 1.5, 1800, in which Beetiioven says: 

.... Per prima you must know that I am very sorry that you, my 
dear brother iu music, did not curlier let me know something (of your 



27:2 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

doings) so that I might have marketed my quartets with you, as well as 
many other pieces which I have sold, but if Mr, Brother is as conscien- 
tious as many other honest engravers who grave us poor composers to 
death, you will know how to derive profit from them when they appear. 
I will now set forth in brief what Mr. Brother can have from me. I"" 
a Septet 'per il Violino, Viola, Violoncello, Contrahasso, ClarineUo, Corno, 
Fagotto — tutti obligati. (I cannot write anything not obligato for I 
came into this world with an obligato accompaniment.) This Septet 
has pleased greatly. For more frequent use the three wind-instruments, 
namely Fagotto, Clarinetto and Corno might be transcribed for another 
violin, viola and violoncello. 11° A grand Symphony for full orchestra. 
111° A Concerto for pianoforte which I do not claim to be one of my 
best, as well as another one which will be published here by Mollo (this 
for the information of the Leipzig critics) because I am for the present 
keeping the better ones for myself until I make a tour; but it will not 
disgrace you to publish it. IV° A grand Solo Sonata.^ That is all 
that I can give you at this moment. A little later you may have a 
Quintet for stringed instruments as well as, probably. Quartets and other 
things which I have not now with me. In your reply you might set the 
prices and as you are neither a Jew nor an Italian, nor I either one or 
the other, we shall no doubt come to an understanding. 

The reference to the Quartets, Op. 18, in this letter, taken in 
connection with the apologies for long delay in writing, indicates 
conclusively enough that at least the first set, the first three, 
had been placed in the hands of Mollo and Co. early in the autumn, 
and it is barely possible, not probable, that they had already been 
issued from the press.- The importance of these Quartets in the 
history both of Beethoven and of chamber music renders very 
desirable more definite information upon their origin and dates 
of composition than the incomplete, unsatisfactory and not always 
harmonious data already known, afford. The original manuscripts 
appear to have been lost. 

Von Lenz quotes in his "Critical Catalogue of Beethoven's 
Works" an anecdote from a pamphlet printed at Dorpat in which 
is related: 

After Beethoven had composed his well-known String Quartet in 
F major he played for his friend (Amenda) (on the pianoforte?) the 
glorious Adagio (D minor, 9-8 time) and asked him what thought 
had been awakened by it. "It pictured for me the parting of two lovers," 

»In B-flat, Op. 22. 

'The Pianoforte Concerto offered to Hoffmeister was that in B-flat. It was pub- 
lished by Hoffmeister and Kiihnel toward the end of 1801 and advertised on January 
16, 1802. The Concerto published by Mollo was that in C major. A letter written 
to Breitkopf and Hartel on the same day contains the equivalent of the remark: "I 
am for the present keeping the better ones for myself until I make a tour," which is 
signi6cant, since it makes it sure that other concertos were at least planned and that 
the one in C minor was looked upon as finished by Beethoven. 



The First String Quartets 273 

was the answer. "Good!" remarked Beethoven, "I thought of the scene 
in the burial vault in 'Romeo and Juliet'." 

This Quartet existed, then, before Amenda left Vienna. Czerny 
says in his notes for Jahn: "Of the first six Violin Quartets that 
in D major, No. 3 in print, was the very first composed by Beet- 
hoven. On the advice of Schuppanzigh he called that in F major 
No. 1, although it was composed later." Ries confirms this: "Of 
his Violin Quartets, Op. 18, he composed that in D major first of 
all. That in F major, which now precedes it, was originally the 
third." ''■ Nota bene that neither Czerny nor Ries spoke from personal 
observation at the time of composition; they must both have 
learned the fact from Beethoven himself, or, more probably, from 
dates on the original manuscripts. A criticism of three quartets 
which appeared in the "Allg. Mus. Zeitung" in 1799, which failed 
to give the name of the composer, has been applied by some writers 
(by Langhans in his History of Music, for instance) to Beethoven's 
Op. 18; but erroneously. They were the works of Emanuel Aloys 
Forster (born January 26, 1748, in Neurath, Upper Silesia, died 
November 12, 1823, in Vienna), a musician who w^as so highly 
esteemed by Beethoven that, on one occasion at least, he called 
him his "old master." The phrase can easily be interpreted to 
mean that Beethoven found instruction in Forster's chamber 
music w^hich he heard at the soirees of Prince Lichnowsky and 
other art-patrons. Forster's compositions, not many of which 
have been preserved in print, are decidedly Beethovenish in char- 
acter. His eldest son, who in 1870 w^as still living in Trieste, 
remembered Beethoven perfectly w^ell from 1803 to 1813, and 
communicated to the author of this biography some reminiscences 
well worth preserving. It is known from other sources tJuit Beet- 
hoven, after the retirement of All)rechtsl)erger, considered Forster 
to be the first of all the Vienna teachers of counterpoint and 
composition, and this is confirmed by the son's statement that it 
was on Beethoven's advice that he sent to press the C()m])endious 
"Anleitung zum Generalbass" which Breitkopf and Hiirtel pub- 
lished in 1805. A year or two later. Count Rasoumowsky applied 
to Beethoven for instruction in musical theory and especially in 
quartet com|)o,sition. IJcetlioven absolutely refused, but so 
strongly recommended liis friend Forster, that the latter was en- 
gaged. Forster's dwelling in all those years was a favorite resort 
of the princii)al composers and dilettanti. 'J'hither came Beet- 
hoven; Zmeskall, a very precise gentleman with abundant wdiite 

'In reality it was the sccoud, as the Amenda parts show. 



274 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

hair; Schuppanzigli, a short fat man with a huge belly; Weiss, 
tall and thin; Linke, the lame violoncellist, Henry Eppinger, the 
Jewish violin dilettante, the youthful Mayseder, J. N. Hummel, 
and others. The regular periods of these quartet meetings were 
Sunday at noon, and the evening of Thursday; but Beethoven 
in those years often spent other evenings with Forster, "when the 
conversation usually turned upon musical theory and composi- 
tion." Notwithstanding the wide difference in their ages (22 years), 
their friendship was cordial and sincere. The elder not only 
appreciated and admired the genius of the younger, but honored 
him as a man ; and spoke of him as being not only a great musical 
composer, but, however at times rough in manner and harsh, even 
rude, in speech, of a most honorable and noble nature. Add 
to all this the fact, that Beethoven in later years recommended 
Forster to pupils as his own "old master," and it is no forced and 
unnatural inference, that he (Beethoven) had studied quartet com- 
position with him, as he had counterpoint with Albrechtsberger, 
and operatic writing with Salieri. Nor is this inference weakened 
— it is rather strengthened — by some points in what now follows: 

The earliest mention of a string quartet in connection with 
Beethoven is that proposal by Count Appony cited from Wegeler 
which led to no instant result. Then comes a passage from a 
letter to Amenda: "Do not give your Quartet to anybody, because 
I have greatly changed it, having learned how to write quartets 
properly." Had he learned from study under Forster.'* 

The original manuscripts being lost, further chronological 
notices concerning them must be sought for in the sketchbooks. 
Here Nottebohm comes to our assistance. In the Fetter collec- 
tion at Vienna there are sketches for the last movement of the 
G major Quartet, the last movement of the B-flat Quartet (among 
them one which was discarded), both deviating from the printed 
form more or less, and one for the last movement of the F major 
Quartet, this approaching pretty closely the ultimate form; thus 
this quartet was farther advanced than the others. Associated 
with this sketch are sketches for the Sonata in B-flat, Op. 22, and 
for the easy Variations in G major which were begun while work 
was in progress on the last movement of the Quartet in G. Beet- 
hoven worked simultaneously on the first movement of Op. 22 
and the scherzo of the first Quartet; while working on the last 
movement of the Quartet in B-flat the rondo of the Sonata was 
begun. The sketches date from 1799 and 1800. Inasmuch as 
they occur before those for the Horn Sonata, which was composed 
very hurriedly and performed on April 18, 1800, the sketches 



Sketches for the First Quartets 275 

were doubtless written earlier. One of the variations of the 
Quartet in A major was sketched much earlier — in 1794 or 1795. 
A little sketch for the first movement of the F major Quartet found 
beside sketches for the Violin Sonata, Op. 24, no doubt belongs 
to the revised form of the Quartet. In a sketchbook formerly 
in the possession of Grassnick in Berlin, there are sketches for 
the Quartet in D major which are near the ultimate form, except 
that there is a different theme for the last movement. Then 
comes a beginning in G major inscribed "Quartet 2," the germ of 
the theme of the second Quartet. There was, therefore, at the 
time no secx)nd Quartet, and that in D is the first. There follows 
"Der Kuss," sketches for the "Opferlied," the Rondo in G major, 
Op. 51, No. 2, to a passage from Schiller's "Ode to Joy," to Gellert's 
"Meine Lebenszeit verstreicht," in G minor, to an intermezzo for 
pianoforte, to the revised form of the B-flat Concerto (which he 
played in Prague in 1798), and to various songs. The indications 
are, therefore, that the sketches were written in 1798. Then 
come sketches for the variations on "La stessa, la stessissima," 
which originated and were published in the beginning of 1799, and 
after them extended sketches for the first movement of the F 
major Quartet, of which those belonging to the first movement are 
in an advanced stage, those for the second movement less so. A 
few sketches for a "third" quartet (thus specified) which were 
not used show that there was no third at the time; therefore, the 
Quartet in F is the second and was planned in 1799. Another 
sketchbook contains the continuation of the sketches for the F 
major Quartet, and, indeed, for all the movements; then an unused 
sketch for a "third" quartet (still not yet in existence), then to two 
songs by Goethe (one "Ich denke dein"), then to the movements 
of the G major Quartet, which is thus indicated to have been the 
third (the intermezzo in the second movement was conceived 
later), further sketches for the A major Quartet, which, it follows, 
was the fourth. Among these sketches are others for the Septet 
and the \'ariations on "Kind, willst du ruhig schlafen?" which 
a[>peared in December in 1799, and was therefore not com[)osed 
earlier. All these sketches date from 1798 and 1799; but the 
Quartets were not finished. In an unused sketch for the Adagio 
of the quartet in F occur the words: "Les derniers soupirs," which 
confirm the story told by Amendu. The continuation of the G 
major Quartet dates to 1800. Up to now no sketches for the 
Quartet in C minor liave been found. 

The results of this chronological investigation may be summed 
up as follows: The com{)osition of the Quartets was begun in 



276 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

1798, that in D, the third, being first undertaken. This was 
followed by that in F and soon after, or simultaneously, work was 
begun on that in G, which was originally designed as the second; 
but, as that in F was completed earlier, this was designated as 
the second by Beethoven, and that in G became in point of time 
the third. The Quartet in F was finished in its original shape by 
June 25, 1799, on which day he gave it to Amenda; he revised 
it later. Whether or not this was also done with the others can- 
not be said; there is no evidence. The remark made in 1801, 
that he had just learned to write quartets, need not be read as 
meaning that he had formal instruction from Forster, but is 
amply explained by his practice on the six Quartets; yet Forster 
may have influenced him strongly. He then wrote the one in A 
(now No. 5), intending it to be the fourth; in this he seems to 
have made use of a motif invented at an earlier period. The 
Quartets in B-flat and C minor followed, the latter being, perhaps, 
the last. The definitive elaboration of the Quartets lasted cer- 
tainly until 1800, possibly until 1801. The Quartets then appeared 
in two sets from the press of Mollo. It is likely that the first three, 
at least, were in the hands of the publisher before the end of 1800, 
as is proved by the letter to Hoffmeister. The first three appeared 
in the summer of 1801 and were advertised as on sale by Nageli 
in Zurich already in July; they were mentioned in the "Allg. 
Musik. Zeitung" on August 26, and in Spazier's "Zeitung fiir die 
Elegante Welt." In October of the same year the last three 
appeared and Mollo advertised them in the "Wiener Zeitung" 
of October 28. The Quartets are dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz. 
Notice of a valuable present to Beethoven from his lenient 
and generous patron. Prince Carl Lichnowsky, naturally con- 
nects itself with the story of the Quartets — a gift thus described 
by Alois Fuchs, formerly violinist in the Imperial Court Orchestra, 
under date of December 2, 1846: 

Ludwig van Beethoven owned a complete quartet of excellent 
Italian instruments given to him by his princely patron and friend 
Liclinowsky at the suggestion of the famous quartet-player Schuppanzigh. 
I am in a position to describe each of the instruments in detail. 

1. A violin made by Joseph Guarnerius in Cremona in the year 
1718 is now in the possession of Mr. Karl Holz, director of the Concerts 
spirituels in Vienna. 

2. The second violin (which was offered for sale) was made by 
Nicholas Amati in the year 1667, and was in the possession of Dr. Ohraeyer, 
who died recently in Hiitteldorf ; it has been purchased by Mr. Huber. 

3. The viola, made by Vincenzo Ruger in 1690, is also the property 
of Mr. Karl Holz. 



Beethoven's Quartet of Instruments 277 

4. The violoncello, an Andreas Guarnerius of the year 1712, is 
in the possession of Mr. P. Wertheimber of Vienna. 

The seal of Beethoven has been impressed under the neck of each 
instrument and on the back of each Beethoven scratched a big B, prob- 
ably for the purpose of protecting himself against an exchange. The 
instruments are all well preserved and in good condition. The most 
valuable one, without question, is the violin by Joseph Guarnerius, which 
is distinguished by extraordinary power of tone, for which, indeed, Mr. 
Holz has refused an offer of 1000 florins. 

The four instruments were bought by Peter Th. Jokits in 
1861, who gave them to the Royal Library at Berlin. Beethoven 
received them from Lichnowsky certainly before 1802, but in 
what year is unknown.^ Another proof of the Prince's regard 
and generosity, however, belongs to this, namely, an annuity of 
COO florins to be continued until the composer should find some 
suitable permanent employment. 

* 

The only known publication of the year 1800 is the Rondo 
in G major. Op. 51, No. 2, which came from the press of Simrock. 
As for the compositions of the year it is safe to assume that Beet- 
hoven put the finishing touches to the first Symphony, the Septet, 
Op. 20, and the Quartets, Op. 18. Furthermore, there can be 
little doubt but that the Sonata for Horn, Op. 17, the Pianoforte 
Sonata, Op. 22, the Concerto in C minor, and the Variations for 
Four Hands on the melody of the song "Ich denke dein," belong 
to this year. The "Variations tres faciles" on an original theme 
in G were sketched and probably completed. The only chronolo- 
gical clues to the Horn Sonata are the date of its first performance, 
April 18, 1800, and the anecdote by Ries concerning tlie rapid 
completion of the work. No sketches have been found and nothing 
is known of the autograph; but according to Nottebolim the 
beginning of a clean copy of the Adagio is to be found among 
the sketches for the Sonatas Op. 22 and 2.S. Punto was still in 
Munich in 1800, and since the work seems assuredly to have 
been designed for liim, there is erpial certainty tliat it was com- 
posed in tliat year. It was i)ublished by Mollo in March, 1801. 
The Septet, for four strings and three wind-instruments, dedicated 

'IIol/, solfl tlu; fluiirncriiis violin in IS.Ii (see the "AIlKcmcinc Dciitsclio Mu.sik- 
zeitung" of 1888). Wln-n lli<; BrrUiovon MuHi'um in H<inn was diMliwilorl, the in- 
struments were borrowed from the authorities of the Royiil Library, and exhibited in 
a glass case, where they remain by sufTerance of the Prussian aulliorities. 



278 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

to the Empress Maria Theresia, was played at the concert at which 
the Symphony in C major was brought forward, April 2, 1800; 
but it had been heard previously in the house of Prince Schwarzen- 
berg. Inasmuch as sketches for it are found among those for 
the Quartets, specially the one in A major, which belong to the 
year 1799, its inception may be placed in that year, though it 
was probably finished in 1800 shortly before its performance. 
There is no date on the autograph. It was offered to Hoffmeister 
in the letter of December 15, 1800, and was published by him in 
1802. The Septet speedily won great popularity and was fre- 
quently transcribed. Hoffmeister had an arrangement for string 
quintet which he advertised on August 18, 1802. Ries thought 
that Beethoven had made it, but he was in error; nevertheless, 
Beethoven gave Hoffmeister permission to publish an arrange- 
ment in which strings were substituted for the wind-instruments, 
and himself transcribed it as a pianoforte trio with violin or 
clarinet ad lib. This arrangement was made as a tribute of grati- 
tude from the composer to his new physician. Dr. Johann Schmidt. 
The doctor played the violin and his daughter the pianoforte, 
both fairly well, and Beethoven arranged his popular piece for 
family use and, as was customary at the time, gave Dr. Schmidt 
the exclusive possession of the mtisic for a year.^ 

. The theme of the minuet in the Septet was borrowed from 
the Pianoforte Sonata, Op. 49, No. 2, but its treatment is original. 
There has been considerable controversy without absolutely defini- 
tive result touching the melody which is varied in the Andante. 
Kretschmer, in his "Deutsche Volkslieder" (BerHn, 1838; Vol. I, 
No. 102, p. 181), prints the melody in connection with a Rhenish 
folksong ( Ach Schiffer, lieber Schiffer"), and there is a tradition 
that Czerny said that it was taken by Beethoven from that 
source. Nottebohm offers evidence deserving of consideration 
that the melody is a folktune; but Ries and Wegeler, who lived 
on the Rhine, had nothing to say on the subject. Erk and Bohme 
("Deutscher Liederhort," Vol. I, p. 273) publish folksongs dealing 
with the legend which is at the base of "Ach Schiffer, lieber 
Schiffer," but the melody of the Andante is not to be found among 
them, and Bohme gives it as his opinion that the song printed 
by Kretschmer was written to Beethoven's melody by Kretsch- 
mer's collaborator Zuccalmaglio. It is not likely that the melody, 
had it lived in the mouths of the people, would have escaped so 
industrious a collector as Erk, who, moreover, was a native of 

>See the dedication in Kalischer's collection of Beethoven's letters translated by 
J. S. Shedlock, Vol. I, p. 94. 



Compositions Sketched in 1800 279 

the Rhine country. The evidence would seem to indicate that 
the melody was original with Beethoven. 

The Pianoforte Sonata in B-flat, Op. 22, also belongs to this 
year, as appears from the fact that it was offered to HofFmeister 
in the letter of December 15. It was still in an unfinished state 
on the completion of the Sonata for Horn, as is shown by the 
circumstance that sketches of it are mingled with a fair transcript 
of a passage from the latter work. There are also sketches for 
Op. 22, among those for the Quartet in B-flat, Op. 18, No. 6, and 
the later movements of the Quartet in F — no doubt the revision. 
The sketches therefore belong to the year 1800, but may date 
back to 1799, from which it would appear that Beethoven worked 
an unusually long time on the Sonata. The principal labor was 
performed most likely in the summer of 1800, which Beethoven 
spent at Unterdobling. It was published in 1802 by Hoffmeister 
and Kiihnel. Sketches from the "Six Easy Variations" are found 
amongst some for the last movement of the Quartet in G, which 
seem to be nearly finished. Again we can fix the year as 1799 or 
1800. Of special importance is the fact that the theme of the 
Variations is the same as the first episode of the rondo of the 
Sonata in B-flat, and the circumstance that the sketches are of 
almost the same date indicates that the identity was not accidental. 
The Variations were advertised as new by Traeg on December 
16, 1800. 

The Variations in D for four hands on the melody of Goethe's 
poem, "Ich denke dein," were conceived at practically the same 
time as those just described. Beethoven at first intended to 
give each stanza a separate setting, and to this end made two 
sketches, which are associated with the Quartet sketches and 
belong to the year 1799. He then took the melody of the first 
stanza as a theme for variations for four hands in the same year 
and wrote them into the autograph album of two sisters, the 
countesses Therese Brunswick and Josephine Deym, On Septem- 
ber 22, 1803, he offered them to Hoffmeister in the place of tlie 
Trio Variations, Op. 44, with the remark that he considered tJiem 
better tJian tJie latter. HotFmeister, liowever, |)ubHslied tlie Trio 
Variations (in 1S()4). The Variations in D were not publislied 
until the beginning of 1S05, and were described as having been 
written in 1800 for the two countesses mentioned, and dedicated 
to them. 

An autograph preserv^ed in the Royal Library in Berlin 
contains four of the variations on 'Teh denke dein," an Adagio 
in F major noted on four staves (three with treble, one with the 



280 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

bass clef), a Scherzo in G major, f time, and an Allegro in G 
major, f. Albert Kopfermann, who published the Adagio for 
the first time in No. 12, Vol. I, of "Die Musik," considers, no doubt 
correctly, that the three compositions were written for an auto- 
matic musical instrument. Though the number of new compo- 
sitions produced in 1800 was small, attention must be directed 
to the fact that the revision and completion of works for publi- 
cation, together with the planning of new works, gave a deal of 
occupation to Beethoven. Amongst the compositions made 
ready for the printer were the Quartets, which were not ready 
till near the end of the year. To them must be added the Sonata 
in E-flat, Op. 27, No. 1, and the Concerto in C minor, the auto- 
graph of which distinctly bears the date 1800. It is certain, 
moreover, that Beethoven began working on "Prometheus" in 
this year, and the summer must have been a busy one for him. 



Chapter XIX 



The Year 1801 — Concerts for Wounded Soldiers — Vigano 
and the Ballet ''Prometheus" — Stephan von Breuning — 
Hetzendorf — "Christus am Olberg" — Compositions and 
Publications of the Year — The Funeral March in the 
Sonata, Op. 26— The "Moonlight" Sonata— The Quintet, 
Op. 29. 

THE tone of Beethoven's correspondence and the many proofs 
of his untiring industry during the winter 1800-1 and early 
part of the succeeding spring, suggest a mind at ease, rejoic- 
ing in the exercise of its powers, and a body glowing with vigorous 
health. But for his own words to Wegeler: "I have been really 
miserable this winter," the passing allusions to ill health in his 
replies to Hoffmeister's letters would merely impress the reader as 
being half-groundless apologies for lack of punctuality in writing. 
This chapter will exhibit the young master both as he appeared to 
the public and as he showed himself in confidential intercourse 
to the few in whose presence he put aside the mask and laid open 
his heart; and will, therefore, it is believed, be found fully to 
justify what has been said of his heroic energy, courage and 
endurance under a trouble of no ordinary nature. 

In the beginning of the year he wrote to Hoffmeister^ as 
follows under date "January 15 (or thereabouts), 1801": 

.... Your enterprises delight me also and I wish that if works 
of art ever bring profit that it might go to real artists instead of mere 
shopkeepers. 

The fact that you i)iir[)Ose to publish the works of Sebastian Bach 
does good to my heart which beats only for the lofty and magnificent 
art of this patriarch of harmony, and I hope soon to see them in vigorous 
sale. I hope, as s(X)n as golden j)eac'e has been declared, to be helpful in 
many ways, especially if you offer the works for subscriptiou. 

'Beethoven's carele.ssness in respect of dates, or a eliararteristie indiden-nre to 
the almanac, as exemplifierl in this cJate-line, plays an important r6lc in one of the most 
puzzling questions in his p<rrsonal history, namely, tiie identity of the woman whom 
in the famous love-letters he called "The Immortal Beloved." 

[ «811 



282 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

As regards our real business, since you ask it I meet your wishes 
by offering you the following items: Septet (concerning which I have 
already written you), 20 ducats; Symphony, 20 ducats; Grand Solo 
Sonata — Allegro, Adagio, Minuetto, Rondo — 20 ducats. This Sonata 
is a tidy piece of work (hat sich gewaschen), my dearest Mr. Brother. 

Now for an explanation: You will wonder, perhaps, that I have 
made no distinction here between Sonata, Septet and Symphony. I 
have done this because I have learned that a septet or symphony has a 
smaller sale than a sonata, though a symphony ought unquestionably to 
be worth more. (N. B. The Septet consists of a short introductory Adagio, 
then Allegro, Adagio, Minuetto, Andante with variations, Minuetto again, 
a short Adagio introduction and then Presto.) I put the price of the 
Concerto at only 10 ducats because, as I have already written, I do not 
give it out as one of my best. I do not think the amount excessive on 
the whole; I have tried, at least, to make the price as moderate as pos- 
sible for you. As regards the bill of exchange you may, since you leave 
the matter to me, issue it to Geimiiller or Schiilleir. The whole sum 
amounts to 70 ducats for the four works. I do not understand any 
money except Viennese ducats; how many thalers in gold that amounts 
to does not concern me, I being a really bad negotiator and mathematician. 

This disposes of the disagreeable (saure) business; I call it so 
because I wish things were different in the world. There ought to be 
only one art warehouse in the world to which an artist would only need 
to carry his art- works to take away with him whatever he needed; as 
it is one must be half tradesman; and how we adjust ourselves — good 
God! — that is what I again call disagreeable. As regards the L. . . O. . . ,^ 
let them talk; they will certainly never make anybody immortal by 
their twaddle, and as little will they rob anybody of immortality to 
whom Apollo has decreed it. 

The next letter requires a word of introduction. That mili- 
tary campaign which included the disastrous field of Hohenlinden 
(December 3, 1800), had filled the hospitals at Vienna, and among 
the various means of raising funds for the benefit of the wounded, 
was a series of public concerts. The two in which they reached 
their climax took place in the large Ridotto room (Redouten-Saal) 
of the imperial palace. The one arranged by Baron von Braun 
as Director of the Court Opera, was a performance of Haydn's 
"Creation" conducted by the composer, on January 16th; the 
other was arranged by Mme. Frank (Christine Gerhardi) for 
January 30th. That lady, Mme. Galvani (Magdalena Willmann) 
and Herr Simoni were the singers, Beethoven and Punto the 
instrumental solo performers; Haydn directed two of his own 
symphonies, Paer and Conti directed the orchestra in the accom- 
paniments to the vocal music. In the first public announcement 
printed in the "Wiener Zeitung" the only artist mentioned was 

i"L . . . O . . .", according to Schindler as reported by Nohl, stands for "Leipsic 
Oxen," the reference being to the critics of the "Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung." 



Benefit Concerts for Wounded Soldiers 283 

"the famous amateur singer Frau von Frank, nee Gerhardi," as 
the giver of the concert. This called out from Beethoven the 
following letter: 

Pour Madame de Frank. 

I think it my duty, best of women, to ask you not to permit 
your husband again in the second announcement of our concert to forget 
that those who contribute their talents to the same also be made known 
to the public. This is the custom, and I do not see if it is not done what 
is to increase the attendance at the concert, which is its chief aim. Punto 
is not a little wrought up about the matter, and he is right, and it was my 
intention even before I saw him to remind you of what must have been 
the result of great haste or great forgetfulness. Look after this, best 
of women, since if it is not done dissatisfaction will surely result. 

Having been convinced, not only by myself but by others as well, 
that I am not a useless factor in this concert, 1 know that not only I but 
Punto, Simoni, Galvani will ask that the public be informed also of our 
zeal for the philanthropic purposes of this concert; otherwise we must 
all conclude that we are useless. 

Wholly yours 

L. V. Bthvn. 

Whether this sharp remonstrance produced the desired effect 
cannot now be ascertained, but the original advertisement was 
repeated in the newspaper on the 24tli and 28th verbatim. 

In tlie state of affairs then existing it was no time to give 
public concerts for private emolument; moreover, a quarrel with 
the orchestra a year before might have prevented Beethoven 
from obtaining the Burgtheater again, and the new Theater-an- 
der-W^ien was not yet ready for occupation; but there is still 
another adequate reason for his giving no Akademie (concert) 
this spring. He had been engaged to compose an important 
work for the court stage. 

Salvatore Vig'ano, dancer and composer of ballets, botli action 
and music, the son of a Milanese of the same profession, was born 
at Naples, March 29, 1701). He began his career at Rome, taking 
female parts because women were not allowed there to appear 
upon the stage. He then had engagements successively at Madrid — 
where he married Maria Medina, a celebrated Spanish daiiseuse 
— Bordeaux, London and Venice, in which hist city, in 17!) 1, he 
comi)Osed his "Jlaoul, Sire de Crocpii." Thence lie came to 
Vienna, where he and his wife first appeared in May, 1703. His 
"Raoul" was produced on June 2.5th at the KiirnthnertJior-TJieater. 
After two years of service here he accepted engagements in five 
continental cities and returned to Vienna again in 17!)!). 'I'he 
second wife of Emi)eror Franz, Maria Theresia, was a woman of 



284 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

much and true musical taste and culture, and Vigano determined 
to compliment her in a ballet composed expressly for that pur- 
pose. Haydn's gloriously successful "Creation" may, perhaps, 
have had an influence in the choice of a subject, "The Men of 
Prometheus," and the dedication of Beethoven's Septet to the 
Empress may have had its effect in the choice of a composer. 
At all events, the work was entrusted to Beethoven. 

If the manner in which this work has been neglected by 
Beethoven's biographers and critics may be taken as a criterion, 
an opinion prevails that it was not worthy of him in subject, 
execution or success. It seems to be forgotten that as an orches- 
tral composer he was then known only by two or three pianoforte 
concertos and his first Symphony — a work which by no means 
rivals the greater production of Mozart and Haydn — and that 
for the stage he was not known to have written anything. There 
is a misconception, too, as to the position which the ballet just 
then held in the Court Theatre. As a matter of fact it stood 
higher than ever before and, perhaps, than it has ever stood since. 
Vigano was a man of real genius and had wrought a reform which 
is clearly, vigorously and compendiously described in a memoir 
of Heinrich von Collin, from which we quote: 

In the reign of Leopold II the ballet, which had become a well- 
attended entertainment in Vienna through the efforts of Noverre, was 
restored to the stage. Popular interest turned at once to them again, 
and this was intensified in a great degree when, beside the ballet-master 
Muzarelli, a second ballet-master, Mr. Salvatore Vigano, whose wife 
disclosed to the eyes of the spectators a thitherto unsuspected art, also 
gave entertainments. The most important affairs of state are scarcely 
able to create a greater war of feeling than was brought about at the 
time by the rivalry of the two ballet-masters. Theatre-lovers without 
exception divided themselves into two parties who looked upon each 
other with hatred and contempt because of a difference of conviction. 
.... The new ballet-master owed his extraordinary triumph over his 
older rival to his restoration of his art back from the exaggerated, inex- 
pressive artificialities of the old Italian ballet to the simple forms of 
nature. Of course, there was something startling in seeing a form of 
drama with which thitherto there had been associated only leaps, con- 
tortions, constrained positions, and complicated dances which left behind 
them no feeling of unity, suddenly succeeded by dramatic action, depth 
of feeling, and plastic beauty of representation as they were so magnifi- 
cently developed in the earlier ballets of Mr. Salvatore Vigano, opening, 
as they did, a new realm of beauty. And though it may be true that it 
was especially the natural, joyous, unconstrained dancing of Madame 
Vigano and her play of features, as expressive as it was fascinating, 
which provoked the applause of the many, it is nevertheless true that 
the very subject-matter of the ballets, which differentiate themselves 



ViGANO AND THE PrOMETHEUS BaLLET 285 

very favorably from his later conceits, and his then wholly classical, 
skilful and manly dancing, were well calculated to inspire admiration 
and respect for the master and his creations. 

Two or three pages might be compiled of spicy matter upon 
the beautiful Mme. Vigano's lavish display of the Venus-like 
graces and charms of her exquisite form ; but her name, long before 
the "Prometheus" ballet, had disappeared from the roll of the 
theatre and Fraulein Cassentini reigned in her stead. There was 
nothing derogatory to Beethoven in his acceptance of the com- 
mission to compose the music to a ballet by Vigano; but by whom 
commissioned, upon what terms, and when — concerning these and 
similar particulars, we know nothing. We only know, that at 
the close of the season before Easter, on the 28th of March, 
"Die Geschopfe des Prometheus" w^as performed for the first 
time for the benefit of the prima ballerina of the ballet corps, 
Fraulein Cassentini, and that the w^hole number of its perform- 
ances this year was sixteen, and in 1802 thirteen. The pecuniary 
result to Beethoven must therefore have been satisfactory. True, 
the full score did not appear in print in Beethoven's lifetime or 
for a long time thereafter; it was not published, indeed, until 
the appearance of the critical Complete Edition, in which it figures 
as No. 1 1 of Series II ; nothing is know'n of the original manuscript. 
A copy revised except as to two numbers, is in the Royal Imperial 
Court Library at Vienna. A pianoforte arrangement of the score 
was published in June, 1801, by Artaria with the opus number 
24 and a dedication to Prince Lichnowsky. Hoffmeister printed 
the orchestral parts and a pianoforte score in 1804 as Oj). 43 
(the number 24 having meanwhile been assigned to the Violin 
Sonata in F). Mention ouglit, perhaps, also to be made of a ])iano- 
forte arrangement of No. 8 for four liands "compose pour la faniille 
Kobler par Louis van Beethoven. Cette piece se trouve aussi a, gr. 
Orchestre dans le meme Magazin." The Kobler family was fre- 
quently in Vienna, among other times in 1814; it had nothing 
to do with the "PronietJieus" music. 

Alois Fuchs has preserved a characteristic anecdote wliich 
came to him "from tlic worthy Jiaiul of a contemporary": 

When Beethoven luid com[)ose(l the music to the ballet "Die 
Geschopfe des I'ronietlieus" in ISO], he was oiu! day met i)y liis formiT 
teacher, the great .Iose[)h Ilaydn, who stopfx'd him at once and said: 
"Well, I heard your ballet yesterday and it pleased me very mneli!" 
Beethoven replied: "O, dear Papa, you are very kind; but it is far from 
being a 'C'reat if)n I' " Ilaydn, surj)rise(l at the answer and almost otfeiided, 
said after a short pause: "That is true; it is not yet a 'CreaLiou' and J 



286 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

can scarcely believe that it will ever become one." Whereupon the men 
said their adieus, both somewhat embarrassed. 

From the period immediately following we have another 
letter from Beethoven to Hoffmeister, dated April 22, 1801, in 
which he says: 

Perhaps, too, it is the only sign of genius about me that my things 
are not always in the best of order, and nobody can mend the matter 
except myself. Thus, for instance, the pianoforte part, as is usual with 
me, was not written out in score and I only now have made a fair copy of 
it so that because of your haste you might not receive my too illegible 
manuscript. So that the works may appear in the proper sequence as 
far as possible I inform you that the following opus numbers ought to 
be placed on the compositions : 

On the Solo Sonata Opus 22 

On the Symphony "21 

On the Septet "20 

On the Concerto "19 

The titles I will send you soon. 

Set me down as a subscriber for the works of Johann Sebastian 
Bach, also Prince Lichnowsky. The transcription of the Mozart sonata 
(or sonatas) as quartets and quintets will do you honor and certainly 
prove remunerative. In this also I should like to be of greater service, 
but I am a disorderly individual and with the best of intentions I am 
continually forgetting everything; yet I have spoken about the matter 
here and there, and everywhere have found inclination towards it. It 
would be a handsome thing if Mr. Brother besides doing this were to 
publish an arrangement of the Septet for flute, as quintet, for example; 
by this means the amateur flautists, who have already approached me 
on the subject, would be helped and they would swarm around it like 
hungry insects. To say something about myself, I have just written 
a ballet in which the ballet-master did not do as well as he might have 
done. Baron von Liechtenstein has endowed us with a product not 
commensurate with the ideas which the newspapers have spread touching 
his genius; another bit of evidence against the newspapers. The Baron 
seems to have formed his ideal on Herr Miiller in the marionette show, 
without, however, having attained it. 

These are the beautiful prospects under which we poor fellows in 
Vienna are expected to flourish. . . . 

Under the same date Beethoven wrote to Breitkopf and 
Hartel: 

.... As regards your request for compositions by me I regret that at 
this time I am unable to oblige you; but please tell me what kind of 
compositions of mine you want, viz., symphonies, quartets, sonatas, etc., 
so that I may govern myself accordingly, and in case I have what you 
need or want I may place it at your service. If I am right, 8 works of 
mine are about to appear at MoUo's in this place; four pieces at Hof- 
meister's in Leipsic; in this connection I wish to add that one of my first 



Advice to the Critics of Leipsic 287 

concertos^ and therefore not one of the best of my compositions, is to be 
published by Hofmeister, and that Mollo is to publish a Concerto which, 
indeed, was written later^ hut nevertheless does not rank among the best of 
my works in this form. This is only a hint for your musical journal in 
the matter of criticism of these works, although if one might hear them 
(well-played, that is), one would best be able to judge them. Musical 
policy requires that one should keep possession for a space of the best 
concertos. You should recommend to Messrs. your critics great care 
and wisdom especially in the case of the products of younger authors; 
many a one may be frightened off who otherwise might, probably, accom- 
plish more; so far as I am concerned I am far from thinking that I am 
so perfect as not to be subject to blame, yet the howls of your critics 
against me were at first so humiliating that after comparing myself with 
others I could not get angry, but remained perfectly quiet, and concluded 
they did not understand their business; it was the easier to remain quiet 
since I saw the praise lavished on people who have no significance in loco 
in the eyes of the better sort, and who disappeared from sight here no 
matter how good they may otherwise have been — but pax vobiscum — 
peace for me and them — I would not have mentioned a syllable about 
the matter had not you yourself done so. 

Coming recently to a friend who showed me the amount which 
had been collected /or the daughter of the immortal god of harmony, I marvel 
at the smallness of the sum which Germany, especially your Germany, 
had contributed in recognition of the individual who seems to me worthy 
of respect for her father's sake, which brings me to the thought how 
would it do if I were to publish a work for the benefit of this person by 
subscription, acquaint the public each year with the amount and its 
proceeds in order to assure her against possible misfortune. Write me 
quickly how this might best be accomplished so that something may be 
done before this Bach dies, before this brook^ dries up and we be no longer 
able to supply it with water. That you would publish the work is self- 
evident. 

Poor Maximilian's health having become precarious, the 
welfare of the Teutonic Order in those revolutionary times de- 
manded that a wise and energetic successor to him as Grand 
Master should be secured in the person of an efficient coadjutor. 
The thouglits of all parties concerned fixed upon a man wlio was 
then not even a member of the order, in case he would join it and 
accept the position, namely, the famous Archduke Karl. A Grand 
Chapter was therefore called at Vienna, which opened June 1st, 
and which unanimously admitted jiim to membership, lie receiv- 
ing a dispensation from taking the oaths for the time being. On 

'The Concerto in B-flat, Op. 19. 

*The Concerto in C major. Op. 15. 

'Bach is the German equivalent of lirook. The <laiiKhter of Haeli referred to 
was Regina Johanna, in whose behalf I'Vicdrieh Rofhlilz had issued an appeal. She 
was the youngest of Baeli's eliiidren and died on Decern Ixt 11, 1809, her last daya having 
been spent in comfort by reason of the subscription alluded to. 



288 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

June 3rd, he was elected coadjutor and on the 11th he received 
the accolade. The circular which called the meeting brought to 
the Austrian capital the whole body of officials employed at Mer- 
gentheim, and thus it happened that Stephan von Breuning, 
whose name appears in the Calendar of the order from 1797 to 
1803, inclusive, as Hofrathsassessor, came again to Vienna and 
renewed intimate personal intercourse with Beethoven. Another 
of our old Bonn acquaintances had also recently come thither, 
he of whom (in the opinion of the present writer) Beethoven 
writes to Amenda: "Now to my comfort a man has come again" — 
namely, Anton Reicha. In the spring of this year Beethoven 
removed from the Tiefer Graben into rooms overlooking one of 
the bastions — there is little if any doubt, the Wasserkunstbastei — 
and in one of those houses the main entrances to which are in 
the Sailerstatte. At a later period of his life he came thither 
again, and with good reason; for those houses not only afforded 
a beautiful view over the Glacis and the Landsstrasse suburb, 
but plenty of sun and fresh air. In the Hamberger house, where 
now stands No. 15, he had often gone with his exercises to Joseph 
Haydn, and hard by lived his friend Anton von Tiirkheim, Royal 
Imperial Truchsess — that is, carver. 

This year he chose Hetzendorf for his summer retreat. Those 
who know well the environs of Vienna, are aware that this village 
offers less attraction to the lover of nature than a hundred others 
within easy distance of the city. There is nothing to invite one, 
who is fond of the solitude of the forest, but the thick groves in 
the garden of Schbnbrunn some ten minutes' walk distant. It 
is certainly possible that Beethoven's state of health may have 
forbidden him to indulge his taste for long rambles, and that the 
cool shades of Schonbrunn, so easily and at all times accessible, 
may have determined his choice. It would be pleasant to believe, 
though there is no evidence to support such a belief, that some 
feeling of regard for his former patron Maximilian, who had sought 
retirement at Hetzendorf, was one of the causes which induced 
the composer to spend this summer there. 

That was a period at Vienna fruitful in short sacred cantatas. 
On certain days in the spring and late autumn no theatrical per- 
formances were allowed and the principal composers embraced 
the opportunity to exhibit their skill and invention in this branch 
of their art; sometimes in concerts for their own benefit, more 
commonly in those for public charities. Haydn, Salieri, Winter, 
Siissmayr, Paer, are names that will occur in this connection to 
every student of Vienna's musical annals. Beethoven, ever ready to 



OiL\TORio : "The Mount of Olives" 289 

compete with the greatest talent in at least one work, and desirous 
of producing at his next concert the novelty of an extensive vocal 
composition by himself, determined to compose a work of this 
class. The subject chosen was "Christus am Olberg."^ Its 
composition was the grand labor of this summer. "The text 
was written by me in collaboration with the poet within 14; days,'* 
writes Beethoven in one of his letters, "but the poet was musical 
and had already written many things for music; I was able to 
consult with him at any moment." This poet was Franz Xaver 
Huber, fertile writer in general literature and a popular author 
for the Vienna stage, who occupied so high a place in public 
esteem, that his consent to prepare the text of the "Christus" 
is another indication of the high reputation of Beethoven. The 
merits and demerits of the poem need not be expatiated upon; 
Beethoven's own words show that he was in part responsible for 
them. Schindler says: 

Beethoven also lived in Hetzendorf in 1805 and composed his 
"Fidelio." A coincidence touching the two works, one that remained 
in the lively memory of Beethoven for many years, was that he composed 
both of them in the thicket of the forest in the Schonbrunner Hofgarten, 
sitting on the hill between two oaks which branched out from the trunk 
about two feet from the ground. This oak, which always remained 
remarkable in his eyes (it is to the left of the Gloriet), I found again 
with Beethoven as late as 1823, and it awakened in him interesting 
memories of the early period. 



So far as has been determined, the compositions completed 
in 1801 were the Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violin, Oj). 23 and 24; 
the Pianoforte Sonatas in A-flat, Op. 26, E-flat, Op. 27, No. 1, 
and C-sharp minor. Op. 27, No. 2, and D major. Op. 28; and 
the Quintet in C major. Op. 20. "The Andante in D minor of 
the Sonata, Op. 28," says Czerny, "was long his favorite and he 
played it often for his own pleasure." Tlie twelve Contradanccs 
and six Rustic Dances {Landlcr) are sketched in part on tlie first 
staves of the Kcssler skctciibook. If we are justified in assuming 
tliat tlicy were comj)Oscd for the balls of the succ-ccding winter 
and were played from manuscript, it would follow that they also 
arc to be counted among the compositions comph'ted in this year. 

The published works were the Concerto for INanofortc and 
Orchestra, Op. 15, riedicated "A son Altesse Madame la Princcssc 

'Known in English as "The Mount of Olives." 



290 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Odescalclii nee Keglevics"; the Sonata for Pianoforte and 
Horn, Op. 17, dedicated "A Madame la Baronne de Braun"; the 
Quintet for Pianoforte, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon, Op. 
16, dedicated "A son Altesse Monseigneur le Prince Regnant de 
Schwarzenberg." These three works were announced by Mollo 
and Co. on March 21. Furthermore, the music to "Prometheus," 
arranged for Pianoforte (according to Czerny by the composer) 
and dedicated "A sua Altezza la Signora Principessa Lichnowsky, 
nata Contessa Thun," published in June by Artaria as Op. 27; 
"6 Variations tres faciles" on an original theme in G, announced 
by Johann Traeg as absolutely new on August 11, sketched in 
the preceding year but probably completed in this; the Sonatas, 
Op. 23 and 24, dedicated "A Monsieur le Comte Maurice de 
Fries," announced on October 28; the six Quartets, Op. 18, dedi- 
cated "A son Altesse Monseigneur le Prince Regnant de Lobko- 
witz," announced (second series) on October 28 by Mollo. The 
Pianoforte Concerto in B-flat, Op. 19, dedicated "A Monsieur 
Charles Nikl Noble de Nikelsberg," and the Symphony in C, 
Op. 21, dedicated "A son Excellence Monsieur le Baron van 
Swieten," were published by Hoffmeister and Kiihnel of Leipsic 
certainly before the end of the year, since they reached Vienna 
on January 16, and were advertised there. An earlier Leipsic 
edition has not been found. The two Violin Sonatas in A minor 
and F major were dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries and were 
originally intended to be coupled in a single opus number (23), 
as appears from the preliminary announcement by Mollo in the 
"Wiener Zeitung" of October 28, 1801, and also by the designa- 
tion of the second as "No. 2," on a copy of Op 24. Sketches of 
the two found in the Betters sketchbook are evidence of their 
simultaneous origin. 

The Pianoforte Sonata, Op. 26, had its origin, according to 
Nottebohm's study of the sketches, in the year 1800; but Shed- 
lock (in the "Musical Times" of August, 1892) prints a few begin- 
nings of the first movement in B minor (!) which probably date 
farther back, perhaps to the Bonn period. A young composer,^ 
Ferdinand Paer (born at Parma in 1771), since the beginning of 
1798 had produced on the court stage a series of pleasing and 
popular works. Laboring in a sphere so totally different from 
that of Beethoven, there was no rivalry between them and their 
relations were cordial and friendly. On June 6th of this summer 
Paer brought out a heroic opera, "Achilles," which "was received 

'Here, for a space, the Editor reverts to the original manuscript not employed 
by the German revisers, except as a foot-note. 



Publications of the Year 1801 291 

with a storm of approval and deserved it," says the correspondent 
of the "Zeitung fur die Elegante Welt." Paer in his old age 
told Ferdinand Hiller a characteristic anecdote of Beethoven 
which cannot possibly be true in connection with his "Leonore," 
as he, by a lapse of memory, related it, but is, undoubtedly, in 
connection with "Achilles." It was to the effect that Beethoven 
went with Paer to the theatre where an opera by the latter was 
performing. He sat beside him and after he had time and again 
cried out, "Ah, que c'est beau, que c'est interessant!" had finally 
said: "II faut que je compose cela." The correspondent just 
cited complains of the "want of character" in the marches in 
"Achilles" and incidentally confirms one of Ries's "Notizen": 
"The funeral march in A-flat minor in the Sonata dedicated to 
Prince Lichnowsky (Op. 26) was the result of the great praise 
with which the funeral march in Paer's 'Achilles' was received 
by Beethoven's friends." Of that Sonata, completed this year, 
Czerny says: "When Cramer was in Vienna and was creating a 
great sensation not only by his playing but also by the three sonatas 
which he dedicated to Haydn (of which the first in A-flat, % time, 
awakened great amazement), Beethoven, who had been pitted 
against Cramer, wrote the A-flat Sonata, Op. 26, in which there 
is purposely a reminder of the Clementi-Cramer passage-work in 
the Finale. The Marcia funebre was composed on the impulsion 
of a very much admired funeral march of Paer's, and added to 
the Sonata." 

Whether or not this funeral march was really occasioned by 
Paer's "Achilles" or one from another opera by Paer (since 
"Achilles" was performed for the first time in 1801, and the older 
first sketches already contemplated a "pezzo caracteristico p. e. 
una marcia in as moll"), is of sul)ordinate interest, since the legend 
has nothing whatever to do with reminiscences, but only with its 
tremendous superiority to the music by Paer. 

The enigmatic "Sonata pour M." in the sketches for this sonata 
no doubt means "for Mollo" simi)ly. The .splctulid print \n farsiviile, 
publislicd })y Erich Praegcr from the auto^rapli discovered by liiiii. gives 
infcjrmation concerning the sketclics and also concerning the legends 
which refer to the origin of the different movements. 

Of the two Pianoforte vSonatas, Op. 27, the first (in E-flat) 
was dedicated to the Princess Johanna von I>iechtenst<Mn, Jice the 
Landgravine FiirstenlxTg, the .second to Countess (Jiulietta (luic- 
ciardi. It is apparent, tJierefore, that they a|)peared separately 
at first. Sketclies of tlie first show that tliey originated in 1801. 



29'-2 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Both are designated "quasi fantasia," which plainly indicates 
a departure from the customary structure. The C-sharp minor 
Sonata, Op. 27, No. 2, was dedicated to the Countess Giulietta 
Guicciardi, who at this time (1801-1802) was Beethoven's pupil 
and indubitably must be counted amongst the ladies who, for a 
time at least, were near to his heart. Concerning this, later. 
As his relationship to the Countess has been exaggerated, so also 
more significance has been attached to this sonata than is justified 
from a sober point of view. Beethoven himself was vexed that 
more importance was attached to it than to other sonatas 
which he held in higher esteem (Op. 78, for instance), simply because 
it had become popular. Its popularity was subsequently height- 
ened by the designations "Arbor Sonata" and "Moonlight 
Sonata" and its creation into a sort of love-song without words, 
especially after Schindler had identified the Countess Guicciardi 
with the "Immortal Beloved" of the famous love-letter. It was 
a long time before attention was paid to a letter written by 
Dr. G. L. Grosheim, to Beethoven, dated November 10, 1819, in 
which occur the words: "You wrote me that at Seume's grave (in 
Teplitz) you had placed yourself among his admirers. ... It is 
a desire which I cannot suppress, that you, Mr. Chapelmaster, 
would give to the world your wedding with Seume — I mean 
your Fantasia in C-sharp minor and the 'Beterin'."^ 

The autograph of the Sonata in D, Op. 28, bears the inscrip- 
tion "Gran Sonata, Op. 28, 1801, da L. van Beethoven." It 

i"The Sonata in C-sharp minor has asked many a tear from gentle souls who 
were taught to hear in its first movement a lament for unrequited love and reflected 
that it was dedicated to the Countess Giulia Guicciardi, for whom Beethoven assuredly 
had a tender feeling. Moonlight and the plaint of an unhappy lover. How affecting! 
But Beethoven did not compose the Sonata for the Countess, though he inscribed it to 
her. He had given her a Rondo, and wishing to dedicate it to another pupil, he asked 
for its return and in exchange sent the Sonata. Moreover, it appears from evidence 
scarcely to be gainsaid, that Beethoven never intended the C-sharp minor sonata as a 
musical expression of love, unhappy or otherwise. In a letter dated January 22, 1892 
(for a copy of which I am indebted to Fraulein Lipsius [La Mara] to whom it is addressed), 
Alexander W. Thayer, the greatest of Beethoven's biographers, says: 'That Mr. Kalischer 
has adopted Ludwig Nohl's strange notion of Beethoven's infatuation for Theresa 
Malfatti, a girl of fourteen years, surprises me; as also that he seems to consider the 
C-sharp minor Sonata to be a musical love-poem addressed to Julia Guicciardi. He 
ought certainly to know that the subject of that sonata was or rather that it was sug- 
gested by — Seume's little poem 'Die Beterin'.' The poem referred to describes a 
maiden kneeling at the high altar in prayer for the recovery of a sick father. Her 
sighs and petitions ascend like the smoke of incense from the censers, angels come to 
her aid, and, at the last, the face of the suppliant one glows with the transfiguring 
light of hope. The poem has little to commend it as an example of literary art and it 
is not as easy to connect it in fancy with the last movement of the sonata as with the 
first and second; but the evidence that Beethoven paid it the tribute of his music seems 
conclusive." — "The Pianoforte and its Music," by H. E. Krehbiel, Charles Scribner's 
Sons, pp. 163, 164. 

On page 174, Vol. IV, of the German edition of this biography Dr. Deiters remarks: 
"The venerated Thayer, it is true, conceived the idea that Beethoven's Fantasia and 



The C-Sharp Minor Sonata 293 

appeared in print in 1802, having been advertised in the "Wiener 
Zeitung" of August 14, from the Industriekontor, with the dedi- 
cation, "A Monsieur Joseph Noble de Sonnenfels, Conseiller 
aulique et Secretaire perpetuel de I'Academie des Beaux Arts." 
Touching the personality of Joseph Noble de Sonnenfels some- 
thing may be learned from W. Nagel's book, "Beethoven und 
seine Klaviersonaten," and also from Willibald Muller's biography 
of him. At the time, Sonnenfels was nearly 70 years old and, so 
far as is known, was not an intimate friend of Beethoven's; the 
dedication was probably nothing more than a mark of respect 
for the man of brains with whose ideas Beethoven was in sympathy. 
The single clue as to the origin of the work is the date (1801) on 
the autograph; sketches seem to be lacking. The sunny dispo- 
sition of the music is the only evidence, and this is internal. The 
work early acquired the sobriquet "Sonata pastorale" (it was 
first printed by A. Cranz), and the designation is not inept. 

The String Quintet, Op. 29, as is evidenced by an inscription 
on the score, was composed in 1801 and published by Breitkopf 
and Hartel in 1802, towards the close of the year. Simultaneously 
it appeared from the press of Artaria. This second edition has 
a history. According to Ries the Quintet 

was stolen in Vienna and published by A. (Artaria) and Co. Having 

been copied in a single night, it was full of errors Beethoven's 

conduct in the matter is without parallel. He asked A. to send the 
fifty copies which had been printed to me for correction, but at tlie same 
time instructed me to use ink on the wretched paper and as coarsely 
as possible; also to cross out several lines so that it would be iraj)ossible 
to make use of a single copy or sell it. The scratching out was particu- 
larly in the Scherzo. I obeyed his instructions implicitly, etc. 

Nottebohm has proved that the further statements of Ries 
touching the melting of the plates, etc., are wrong; but the en- 
raged composer did make a public statement — and very properly: 

Sonata, Op. 27, No. 2, hud \iOcn in.spircd by Soiimo'.s 'Hctcrin.' Whoever rompnros tho 
sonata with the ixjcm will .soon realizo that thiTc? can he no thon^'ht of this. \\r liave 
here, no donld, a confusion of pieces. It would he easier to think of the Fantasia, Op. 
77. Kalisclier, who first recoj^nized Thayer's error, thouf.;ht of the (J-sliarp minor 
Quartet; hut this cannot have Ix-en in Heethoven's mind, for it was composed much 
later." Grossheim'.s h-tler was written in ISl!); the ('-sharp minf)r quartet was com- 
po3e<l in 1820. So Kaliseher was ridiculously in errf)r. Hut why does Dr. Deiters 
suggest the Fantasia, Op. 77.' (irosshciin was u musician — com[)oMer, teacher and con- 
ductor — a.s well as philolf)gist, and when he said "('-sharp minor" it is nr)t likely that he 
was thinking of a work in (J minor. Moref)ver, the most admiralile Dr. Deili-rs to the 
contrary notwithstanding, it is not at all difliciilt to associate the sonata with the p«)era 
whose picture of lamentable petition and rising clouds of incense is strikingly repro- 
duced in suggestion by the music of the first movenn'nt. S«Tene hopefulness can be 
said to be the feeling wliich informs the second movement; and why should the finale 
not be the musician's continuation of the poet's story? 



294 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

To the Lovers of Music. 

In informing the public that the original Quintet in C long ago 
advertised by me as having been published by Breitkopf and Hartel 
in Leipsic, I declare at the same time that I have no interest in the 
edition published simultaneously by Messrs. Artaria and Mollo in Vienna. 
I am the more compelled to make this declaration since this edition is 
very faulty, incorrect and utterly useless to players, whereas Messrs. 
Breitkopf and Hartel, the legal owners of this Quintet, have done all 
in their power to produce the work as handsomely as possible. 

Ludwig van Beethoven. 

A year later Beethoven revoked this declaration so far as it 
concerned Mollo in the following 

Announcement to the Public. 

After having inserted a statement in the "Wiener Zeitung" of 
January 22, 1803, in which I publicly declared that the edition of my 
Quintet published by Mollo did not appear under my supervision, was 
faulty in the extreme and useless to players, the undersigned hereby 
revokes the statement to the extent of saying that Messrs. Mollo and Co. 
have no interest in this edition, feeling that I owe such a declaration 
to do justice to Messrs. Mollo and Co. before a public entitled to respect. 

Ludwig van Beethoven. 

As Nottebolim has shown, Beethoven eventually agreed to 
revise and correct this edition also. A long letter to Breitkopf and 
Hartel, dated November 13, 1802, gives a lively picture of the 
excitement which the incident aroused in Beethoven: 

I write hurriedly to inform you of only the most important things — 
know then, that while I was in the country for my health, the arch- 
scoundrel Artaria borrowed the Quintet from Count Friess on the 
pretence that it was already published and in existence here and that 
they wanted it for the purpose of reengraving because their copy was 
faulty and as a matter of fact intended to rejoice the public with it in a 
few days — good Count Fr., deceived and not reflecting that a piece of 
rascality might be in it, gave it to them — he could not ask me, I was 
not here, but fortunately I learned of the matter in time, it was on Tuesday 
of this week, and in my zeal to save my honor and as quickly as possible 
to prevent your suffering injury, I offered two new works to these con- 
temptible persons if they would suppress the entire edition, but a cooler- 
headed friend who was with me asked, Do you want to reward these rascals .f* 
The case was finally closed under conditions, they assuring me that no 
matter what you printed they would reprint it, these generous scoundrels 
decided therefore to wait three weeks after the receipt here of your 
copies before issuing their own (insisting that Count F. had made them 
a present of the copy). For one term the contract was to be closed and 
for this boon I had to give them a work which I value at at least 40 
ducats. Before this contract was made comes my good brother as if 
sent by heaven, he hurries to Count Fr., the whole thing is the biggest 



The String Quartet in C, Op. 29 295 

swindle in the world, how neatly they kept themselves out of Count F.'s 
way and so on, and I go to F. and as the enclosed Revers may show that 
I did all in my power to protect you from injury — and my statement 
of the case may serve to prove to you that no sacrifice was too great for 
me to save my honor and save you from harm. From the Revers you 
will see the measures that must be adopted and you should make all 
possible haste to send copies here and if possible at the same price as 
the rascals — Sonnleithner and I will take all further measures which 
seem to us good, so that their entire edition may be destroyed — please 
take good notice that MoUo and Artaria combined are already only a 
shop, that is, a combined lot of scoundrels. The dedication to Friess 
I hope was not forgotten inasmuch as my brother wrote it on the first sheet 
— I wrote the Revers myself since my poor brother is very much occupied 
with work yet did all he could to save you and me, in the confusion he 
lost a faithful dog which he called his favorite, he deserves that you 
thank him personally as I have done on my own account — recall that 
from Tuesday to late last night I devoted myself almost wholly to this 
matter and the mere thought of this rascally stroke may serve to make 
you realize how unpleasant it is for me to have anything to do with 
such miserable men. 

''Revers. 

"The undersigned pledges himself under no circumstances to send 
out or sell here or elsewhere the Quintet received from Mr. Count Friess 
composed by Lud. v. Beethoven until the original edition shall have 
been in circulation in Vienna 14 days. 

"Vienna, 9th month, 1802. Artaria Comp." 

This R. is signed with its own hand by the Comp. Use the following: 
Is to be had a Vienne chez Artaria Comp., ji MUiiich chez F. Halm, a 
Francfort chez Gayl et Nadler, perhaps also in Leipsic chez Meysel — 
the price is 2 florins Viennese standard. I got hold of twelve copies, 
which they promised me from the beginning, and corrected them — 
the engraving is abominable. Make use of all this, you see that on every 
side we have them in our hands and can proceed against them in the 
courts. — N.B. Any personal measures taken against A. will have my 
approval. 

Under date of December 5, 1802, Beethoven's brother Karl 
wrote to Breitkopf and Iliirtel on the same subject: 

Finally I shall inform you touching the manner in which my brother 
sells his works. We already have in i)riiit 34 works and aiH»iit IS numbers. 
These j)iec('s were mostly commissioned l)y amateurs under the foMowing 
agreement: he who wants a |)ieee pays a fixed sum for its cxehisive 
possession for a half or a whole year, or longer, and binds himself not 
to give the niannseript to ani/hodif; at the eoii'Insion of fhe jx-riod it is 
the privilege; of tiie author to do what he j)leases with tlu; work. This 
was the understanding witli Count Friess. Now the Count has a certain 
Conti as violin teacher, and to him Artaria turned and he jjrobjibly for 
a consideration of 8 or 10 florins said that the quart<'t (.v/>) had aln-ady 
been printed and was to be had everywhere. This made Count Friess 



296 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

think that there was nothing more to be lost in the matter and he gave 

it up without a word to us about it Count Friess is not here 

just now, but he will return in 6 days and then we shall see that you 
are recompensed in one way or another. I send you the accompanying 
Revers signed by Artaria for inspection; please return it. This Revers 
cost my brother 7 days during which time he could do nothing, and me 
innumerable trips, many unpleasantnesses and the loss of my dog. ^ 

Beethoven's declaration not having been published until more 
than two months after his letter containing the Revers, the inci- 
dents touching which Ries makes report, and the partial reengrav- 
ing of the plates, must have taken place after January, 1803, and 
the end of the quarrel in 1804. Sketches of the Quintet have 
not been found and the question naturally arises whether or not 
it might have had an earlier origin or been developed from earlier 
sketches. A note in a Conversation Book of 1826, indicates that 
one of the Quintet's themes was written by Schuppanzigh. 

'Appendix II to the second volume of the German edition of this work contains 
copies of all the documents in the legal controversies which arose out of Beethoven's 
charges against Artaria and Co. and Mollo in the matter of the unauthorized publication 
of the Quintet. They do not add much that is essential to the story as it has been told, 
though they show that the legal authorities upheld the publishers against the composer. 



Chapter XX 



Letters of 1801 — The Beginning of Beethoven's Deafness — ■ 
The Criticisms of a Leipsic Journal — Bonn Friends in 
Vienna — Reicha, Breuning, Ries, Czerny — Chronology 
Adjusted. 

LET us now turn back to the important letters written in the 
summer of 1801, beginning with two written to his friend 
Amenda, which were first published in the "Signale" of 1852, 
No. 5. The first, without date or record of place, is as follows: 

How can Amenda doubt that I shall always remember him' because 
I do not write or have not written to him — as if memory could only 
be preserved in such a manner. 

A thousand times the best of all men that I ever learned to know 
comes into my mind — yes, of the two men who had my entire love, of 
which one still lives, you are the third — how can recollection of you die 
out of my mind. You shall soon receive a lon<? letter from me concerning 
my present condition and everything about me that might interest you. 
Farewell, dear, good, noble friend, keep me always in your love, your 
friendship, as I shall forever remain 

Your faithful Beethoven. 

The longer letter which he luid promised to send to liis friend 
is dated June 1, 1801 : 

My dear, gf>od Amenda, my cordial friend, I received and read 
your last letter with mixed pain and |)leasurc. To what sIimII I coiiipare 
your fidelity, your attachment to me. Oh, it is so beautiful that you 
have always been true to me and I know how to single you out and 
keep you jibove all others. You are not a Viennes(i friend, no, you 
are one of lliosi; who sjjring from the ground of my native land. How 
often do I wish you were with me, for your ]J(M>thoven is living an unhappy 
life, quarreling with nature and its creutor, often cursing llu^ l.ilter 
because he surrendered his creatures to the merest aceident which some- 
times broke or destroyed the most beautiful blossoms. Know that my 
nol)lest faculty, my hearing, has greatly deteri«)rat<>d. When you were 
still witli me I felt the symi)toms but kept silent; now it is continually 
growing worse, and whether or not a cure is i)ossil)Ie has become a 
'Beethoven writes: "How can Amenda flouljt that I should ever forget him?" 

( 297 1 



298 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

question; but it is said to be due to my bowels and so far as they are con- 
cerned I am nearly restored to health. I hope, indeed that my hearing 
will also improve, but I am dubious because such diseases are the most 
incurable. How sad is my lot! I must avoid all things that are dear 
to me and live amongst such miserable and egotistical men as . . . 
and . . . and others. I must say that amongst them all Lichnowsky is the 
most satisfactory, since last year he has settled an income of 600 florins on 
me and the good sale of my works enables me to live without care. I 
could sell everything that I compose five times over and at a good price. 
I have written considerably of late, and as I hear that you have ordered 
a pianoforte from .... I will send you various things in the box of 
the instrument so that it need not cost you much. To my comfort 
there has lately come a man with whom I can share the pleasures of 
association, an unselfish friendship; he is one of the friends of my youth. 
I have often spoken of you to him and told him that since I left my 

fatherland you have been the only choice of my heart is not very 

satisfactory to him — he is and always will be too weak for friendship. 

I use him and only as instruments on which I play when I 

please but they can never become witnesses of my whole internal and 
external activities or real participants (in my feelings). I estimate 
them at only what they are worth to me. Oh, how happy would I be 
if my hearing were completely restored; then would I hurry to you, 
but as it is I must refrain from everything and the most beautiful years 
of my life must pass without accomplishing the promise of my talent 
and powers. A sad resignation to which I must resort although, indeed, 
I am resolved to rise superior to every obstacle. But how will that be 
possible.'* Yes, Amenda, if my infirmity shows itself to be incurable 
in half a year, I shall appeal to you; you must abandon everything and 
come to me. My affliction causes me the least trouble in playing and 
composing, the most in association with others, and you must be my 
companion. I am sure my fortune will not desert me. What might I 
not essay.'* Since you have been gone I have composed everything except 
operas and church-music. You will not deny me; you will help your 
friend bear his cares and affliction. I have also greatly bettered my 
pianoforte playing and I hope the journey will, perhaps, make your 
fortune; afterward you will remain with me. I have received all of 
your letters and despite the fact that I answered so few you were always 
with me and my heart still beats as tenderly for you as ever it did. I 
beg of you to keep the matter of my deafness a profound secret to be 
confided to nobody no matter who it is. Write to me very often. Your 
letters, no matter how short, comfort me, do me good, and I shall soon 
expect another from you, my dear fellow. Do not lend your quartet 
to anybody because I have changed it greatly having just learned how 
properly to write quartets, as you will observe when you receive it. 
Now, farewell, my dear, good fellow; if you think I can do something 
for you here, command me as a matter of course. 

Your faithful, and truly affectionate 

L. V. Beethoven. 

In the same montii Beethoven wrote again to the publisher 
Hoffmeister to this effect: 



The Composer's Health in 1801 299 

I am a little amazed at what you have communicated to me through 
the local representative of your business. I am almost vexed to think 
that you consider me capable of such a trick. 

It would be a different matter if I had sold my wares only to avari- 
cious tradesmen hoping that they would make a good speculation on 
the sly, but as artist towards artist it is a bit harsh to think such things 
of me. It looks to me as if the whole matter had been planned to test 
me or to be merely a suspicion; in either case I inform you that before 
you received the Septet from me I sent it to London to Mr. Salomon 
(for performance at his concerts out of mere friendship) but with the 
understanding that he should have a care that it should not fall into the 
hands of strangers, because I intended that it should be published in 
Germany, concerning which, if you think it necessary, j^ou may make 
inquiry of him. But in order to prove my honesty / give you the assur- 
ance herewith that I have not sold the Septet, Concerto, the Symphony and 
the Sonata to anybody but you, Hoffmeister and Kiihnel, and. that you may 
consider it (sic) as your exclusive property and to this I pledge my honor. 
You may make such use of this assurance as you please. 

As for the rest I believe as little that Salomon is capable of being 
guilty of having the Septet printed as I am of having sold it to him. I 
am so conscientious that I have denied the applications of various pub- 
lishers to print the pianoforte arrangement of the Septet, and yet I 
do not know whether or not you intend to make such use of it. 

On June 29, he sent tlie following longer letter to Wegeler, 
who published it in his "Notizen": 

Vienna, June 29. 
My good, dear Wegeler! 

How greatly do I thank you for thinking of me; I have so 
little deserved it and so little tried to deserve anything from you, and 
yet you are so very good and refuse to be held aloof by anything, 
not even by my unpardonable remissness, remaining always my true, 
good, brave friend. Do not believe that I couhl forget you who were 
always so dear to me. No. There are moments when I long for you 
and would like to be with you. My fatherland, the beautiful region in 
whifli I first saw the light, is still as clear and beaiilirul before my eves 
as when I left you. In short, I shall look upon that period as onc^ of the 
hapi)iest incidents of my life when I shall see you again and greet Father 
Rhine. When this shall be I cannot now tell you — but I want to say 
that you will see me again only as a great man. Yon shall reeei\<' ineas 
a great artist but as a belter and more perfect man, and if liie eondilions 
are improved in our fatherland my art shall be employed in the service 
of the f)oor. O hapi)y moment I ITow ha|)|)y ani I tlial I creativl thee — 
can invoke thee! . . , Yon want to know something about my situation. 
It is not so bad. Since last year, unbelievabh; as it may sound, even 
after I tell yon, Lielmovvsky, who has always remained my warmest 
friend fthere wen> litth; quarrels l)et ween us, but tliey only served to 
strengthen our friendshij)), set aside a fixed sum of (iOO florins for me to 
draw against so long as I remained without .'i position worthy of me. 
From my compositions I have a large income and I may say that I have 
more commissions than it is j)ossible for me to fill. Besides, I have 6 



300 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

or 7 publishers and might have more if I chose; they no longer bargain 
with me — I ask, and they pay. You see it is very convenient. For instance, 
I see a friend in need and my purse does not permit me to help him at once. 
I have only to sit down and in a short time help is at hand. Moreover, I am 
a better business man than formerly. If I remain here always I shall bring 
it to pass that I shall always reserve a day for my concert of which I give 
several. The only pity is that my evil demon, my bad health, is contin- 
ually putting a spoke in my wheel, by which I mean that my hearing 
has grown steadily worse for three years for which my bowels, which 
you know were always wretched and have been getting worse, since I 
am always troubled with a dysentery, in addition to unusual weakness, 
are said to be responsible. Frank wanted to tone up my body by tonic 
medicines and restore my hearing with almond oil, but, 'prosit, nothing 
came of the effort; my hearing grew worse and worse, and my bowels 
remained as they had been. This lasted until the autumn of last year 
and I was often in despair. Then came a medical ass who advised me 
to take cold baths, a more sensible one to take the usual lukewarm 
Danube bath. That worked wonders; my bowels improved, my hearing 
remained, or became worse. I was really miserable during this winter; 
I had frightful attacks of colic and I fell back into my previous condition, 
and so things remained until about four weeks ago, when I went to Vering, 
thinking that my condition demanded a surgeon, and having great 
confidence in him. He succeeded almost wholly in stopping the 
aw^ul diarrhoea. He prescribed the lukewarm Danube bath, into 
which I had each time to pour a little bottle of strengthening stuflf, 
gave me no medicine of any kind until about four weeks ago, when 
he prescribed pills for my stomach and a kind of tea for my ear. Since 
then I can say I am stronger and better; only my ears whistle and buzz 
continually, day and night. I can say I am living a wretched life; for 
two years I have avoided almost all social gatherings because it is impos- 
sible for me to say to people: "I am deaf." If I belonged to any other 
profession it would be easier, but in my profession it is an awful state, 
the more since my enemies, who are not few, what would they say? 
In order to give you an idea of this singular deafness of mine I must 
tell you that in the theatre I must get very close to the orchestra in 
order to understand the actor. If I am a little distant I do not hear 
the high tones of the instruments, singers, and if I be but a little farther 
away I do not hear at all. Frequently I can hear the tones of a low 
conversation, but not the words, and as soon as anybody shouts it is intoler- 
able. It seems singular that in conversation there are people who do 
not notice my condition at all, attributing it to my absent-mindedness.' 
Heaven knows what will happen to me. Vering says that there will be 
an improvement if no complete cure. I have often — cursed my exist- 
ence; Plutarch taught me resignation. If possible I will bid defiance 
to my fate, although there will be moments in my life when I shall be 
the unhappiest of God's creatures. I beg of you to say nothing of my 
condition to anybody, not even to Lorchen;^ I entrust the secret only 
to you; I would be glad if you were to correspond with Vering on the 

*We shall see that even Ries took no note of his friend's infirmity for two years. 
'Eleonore von Breuning, wife of Wegeler. 



Greetings to Old Friends in Bonn 301 

subject. If my condition continues I will go to you next spring; you 
could hire a house for me in some pretty place in the country and for 
half a year I would be a farmer. This might bring about a change. 
Resignation! What a wretched refuge — and yet the only one open to 
me. Forgive me that I add these cares of friendship to yours which is 
sorrowful enough as it is. Steffen Breuning is here now and we are 
together almost daily; it does me so much good to revive the old emo- 
tions. He is really become a good, splendid youngster, who knows a 
thing or two, and like us all has his heart in the right place. I have a 
pretty domicile on the bastion which is doubly valuable because of my 
health. I believe I shall make it possible for Breuning to come to me. 
You shall have your Antioch' and also many musical compositions of 
mine if you do not think they will cost you too much. Honestly, your 
love for art still delights me much. Write to me how it is to be done 
and I will send you all my compositions, already a goodly number and 
increasing daily. ... In return for the portrait of my grandfather which 
I beg of you to send me as soon as possible by mail-coach, I am sending 
you that of his grandson, your good and affectionate Beethoven, which 
is to be published here by Artaria, who, like many others, including 
art-dealers, have often asked me for it. I shall soon write to Stoffel- 
and give him a piece of my mind concerning his stubborn disposition. 
I will make his ears ring with the old friendship, and he shall promise 
me by all that is holy not to offend you further in your present state 
of unhappiness. I shall also write to good Lorche. I have never forgotten 
one of you good people even if I did not write to you; but you know that 
writing was never my forte; the best of my friends have not had a letter 
from me in years, I live only in my notes and when one composition 
is scarcely ended another is already begun. As I compose at present 
I frequently work on three or four compositions at the same time. Write 
to me often, hereafter. I will try occasionally to find time to write to 
you. Give greetings to all, including the good Madame Councillor.' 
and tell her that I still occasionally have a "raptus." As regards K. 
I do not at all wonder over his change. Fortune is round, like a ball, 
and therefore does not always drop on the noblest and best. A word 
about Ries, whom I greet heartily; so far as his sou is concerned I shall 
write you more in detail, although I think that he would be more fortunate 
in Paris than in Vienna. Vienna is overcrowded and the most meritorious 
find it extremely difficult to maintain tluMnselves. In the anliimn or 
winter I shall see what lean do for him, for at that time lh«' public imrries 
back to the city. Farewell, good, faithful Wegeler! Be assured of the 
love and friendship of 

Your Beethoven. 

On November 16, he wrote in greater detail lo WVgcler: 

My goo<l Wegeler ! 

I thank you for the new cvidenre of concern in my behalf, 
all tho more since I deserve so little at your liatids. You want to know 

>A well-known picture by FUger, Director of the Academy of Painting in Vienna. 
*Christoph von Urcuning. 
'Breuning's mother. (Wegeler.) 



302 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

how it goes with me, what I need; as Httle as I like to discuss such matters 
I would rather do it with you than with others. 

For several months Vering has had vesicatories placed on both 
arms, which consist, as you know, of a certain bark.^ This is a very un- 
pleasant remedy, inasmuch as I am robbed of the free use of my arms 
(for a few days, until the bark has had its effect), to say nothing of the 
pain. It is true I cannot deny that the ringing and sounding in my 
ears has become less than usual, especially in the left ear, where my 
deafness began; but my hearing has not been improved and I dare not 
say that it has not grown worse rather than better. My bowels are in 
a better condition, especially after the lukewarm baths for a few days 
when I feel quite well for 8 or 10 days, seldom needing a tonic for my 
stomach. I am beginning to use the herbs on the belly as suggested 
by you. Vering will hear nothing of plunge baths, and I am thoroughly 
dissatisfied with him; he has much too little care and consideration for 
such a disease; if I did not go to him, which costs me a great deal of 
trouble, I should not see him at all. What do you think of Schmidt? 
I do not like to change, but it seems to me Vering is too much of a practi- 
tioner to acquire new ideas. Schmidt seems to me a very different sort 
of man and, perhaps, would not be so negligent. Miracles are told of 
galvanism; what have you to say about it? A doctor told me that he 
had seen a deaf and dumb child recover his hearing (in Berlin) again — 
and a man who had been deaf 7 years got well. I am living more pleas- 
antly since I live more amongst men. You will scarcely believe how 
lonely and sad my life was for two years; my bad hearing haunted me 
everywhere like a ghost and I fled from mankind and seemed like a 
misanthrope, though far from being one. This change has been wrought 
by a dear, fascinating girl who loves me and whom I love. There have 
been a few blessed moments within the last two years and it is the first 
time that I feel that marriage might bring me happiness. Alas! she is 
not of my station — and now — it would be impossible for me to marry. 
I must still hustle about most actively. If it were not for my deafness, 
I should before now have travelled over half the world, and that I must do. 
There is no greater delight for me than to practise and show my art. 
Do not believe that I would be happy with you. What is there that 
could make me happier? Even your care would give me pain. I 
would see pity on your faces every minute and be only the unhappier. 
What did those beautiful native regions bestow upon me? Nothing 
except the hope of a better state of health, which would have come 
had not this affliction seized upon me. Oh, if I were rid of this 
affliction I could embrace the world! I feel that my youth is just begin- 
ning and have I not always been ill? My physical strength has for a 
short time past been steadily growing more than ever and also my mental 
powers. Day by day I am approaching the goal which I apprehend 
but cannot describe. It is only in this that your Beethoven can live. 
Tell me nothing of rest. I know of none but sleep, and woe is me that 
I must give up more time to it than usual. Grant me but half freedom 
from my affliction and then — as a complete, ripe man I shall return to 
you and renew the old feeUngs of friendship. You must see me as happy 
as it is possible to be here below — not unhappy. No! I cannot endure it. 

^The bark of Daphne Mezereum. 



Deafness and a Romantic Attachment 303 

I will take Fate by the throat; it shall not wholly overcome me. Oh, 
it is so beautiful to live — to live a thousand times! I feel that I am not 
made for a quiet life. You will write to me as soon as you can. See 
that Steffen secures an appointment of some kind in the Teutonic Order. 
Life here is connected with too many hardships for his health. Besides, 
he lives so isolated an existence that I cannot see how he is to get along 
in this manner. You know the state of affairs here. I will not say that 
social life may not lessen his moodiness; but it is impossible to persuade 
him to go anywhere. A short time ago I had a musicale at my home; 
yet our friend Steffen did not come. Advise him to seek more rest 
and composure. I have done my best in this direction; without these 
he will never be again happy or well. Tell me in your next letter whether 
or not it will matter if I send you a great deal of my music; you can sell 
what you do not need and so get back the post-money — and my portrait. 
All possible lovely and necessary greetings to Lorchen, ^Nlama and 
Christoph. You love me a little, do you not.'^ Be assured of the love 
and friendship of 

Your 

Beethoven. 

A commentary upon these letters — the first two excepted, 
which need none — might be made, by a moderate indulgence of 
poetic fancy, to fill a volume of respectable size; but rigidly con- 
fined to prosaic fact may be reduced to reasonable dimensions. 
Taking up the letters in their order, the first is that to Hoffmeister 
of April 22nd. 

I. One of the earliest projects of the new firm of Hoffmeister 
and Kiihnel was the publication of "J. Sebastian Bach's Theoretical 
and Practical Clavier and Organ Works." The first number con- 
tained: 1, Toccata in D-flat; 2, fifteen inventions; 3, "The Well- 
Tempered Clavichord" — in part; the second number: 1, 15 sym- 
phonies in tliree voices; 2, continuation of "The Well-Tem])ered 
Clavichord." Now compare what Schindler says (third edition, 
II, 184): 

Of the archfathcr Johann Sebastian Bach the stock was a very 
small one cxrci)t for a few mofcis which had been sung at the lion-^c of 
van Swieten; Ijcsides tlicse tii<; majority of pieces were lhos(> f.iinilarly 
known, namely, the "Well-Tempered Clavichord," which showed signs 
of diligent study, three volumes of exercises, fifteen inventions, fifteen 
symphonies and a toccata in 1) minor. This collection of |)icc«'s in (i 
single volume is to be found in my possession. Attached to these* was a 
sheet of paper on which, in a strange handwriting, was to be n-ad lli<> 
following i)assage from .]. N. Forkcl's book "On lh<^ Life and Artwork 
of Johann Sebastian Bach": "The f)retcnce that th(; musical art is an art 
for all ears cannot be substantiated by Bach, but is disjjrovcd by the mere 
existence and uniqueness of his works, which .seem to be destined only 
for connoisseurs. Only the connoisseur who can surmise \\\v. inner or- 
ganization and feel it and penetrate to the intention of the artist, which 



304 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

does nothing needlessly, is privileged to judge here; indeed, the judgment 
of a musical connoisseur can scarcely be better tested than by seeing 
how rightly he has learned the works of Bach." On both sides of this 
passage there were interrogation points from the thickest note-pen of 
Beethoven as a gloss on the learned historian and most eminent of all 
Bachians. No Hogarth could have put a grimmer look, or a more 
crushing expression, into an interrogation point. 

Nagele, who professed long to have entertained the design 
to publish Bach's "most admirable works," issued his proposals 
in February, written with some degree of asperity against "the 
double competition" which, he had already learned, "was con- 
fronting" him. Of his edition of "The Well-Tempered Clavi- 
chord" Beethoven also possessed a part. 

The names left blank in publishing this letter are easily sup- 
plied. Baron Carl August von Liechtenstein, the same to whom, 
from 1825 to 1832, was confided the management of the opera in 
Berlin, who died there in 1845, had been so extravagantly praised 
as head of the Princely Music at Dessau that he was called to 
assume the chapelmastership of the Imperial Opera in Vienna 
near the end of 1800. The contemporary reports of his eflSciency 
as conductor are highly favorable. He deserves the credit of 
determining to add to the repertory of the Imperial Opera Mozart's 
"Zauberflbte" which, till then, had been heard by the Viennese 
only in the little theatre Auf-den-Wieden. It is worth mention- 
ing that Liechtenstein brought with him from Dessau poor Neefe's 
daughter Felice, now Mme. Rosner, and that she was the Pamina 
of this performance. In the first new work produced (April 16th) 
upon the imperial stage after Beethoven's "Prometheus" music, 
Liechtenstein introduced himself to the Vienna public in the char- 
acter of a composer. It was in his opera "Bathmendi," completely 
revised. The result was a wretched failure. Hoflmeister's long 
and familiar acquaintance with Vienna, its musicians and its 
theatres, would cause him readily to appreciate the fun and wit 
of Beethoven's remark that the newly engaged chapelmaster and 
composer of the Imperial Opera "seems to have taken for an ideal 
Mr. M. (Miiller)" — the Offenbach of that time — but without reach- 
ing "even him." Considering that the Baron was yet a young 
man, at the most but three years older than Beethoven, the some- 
what bitter remark which follows the jest appears natural enough. 

11. Beethoven had just cause for indignation in the treatment 
which he had received at the hands of the writers for the "Allge- 
meine Musikalische Zeitung" (the "Leipsic oxen" of his letter of 
January 15th). Hoffmeister had evidently written him on the 



The Composer and His Early Critics 305 

subject, and his reticence in confining himself in reply to a single 
contemptuous sentence, though writing in the confidence of private 
correspondence, is something unexpected; not less so is the manly, 
dignified and ingenuous style of his answer to Breitkopf and 
Hartel upon the same topic in the letter of April S-^nd. The 
first number of that famous musical journal (take it for all in all, 
the noblest ever published) appeared October 3rd, 1798, edited by 
Rochlitz, published by Breitkopf and Hartel. In the second num- 
ber, "Z " eulogizes the Six Fughettos of the lad, C. M. von 

Weber; in the tenth young Hummel's sonatas. Op. 3, are reviewed; 
in the fifteenth the name of Beethoven first appears, viz. : in the 
title of three sonatas dedicated to him by Wolfii. At length, 
in No. 23, March 17th, 1799, he is introduced to the readers of 
the journal as an author— not of one or more of the eight Trios, 
ten Sonatas, the Quintet and Serenade, which make up the opera 
1 to 11 then published — but as the writer of the Twelve Varia- 
tions on "Ein Madchen oder Weibchen," and eight on "Une fievre 
brulante." 

The criticisms are a perfect reflex of the conventional musical 
thought of the period and can be read now with amused interest, 
at least. There is no room here for their production in full. The 
writer, "M. . . .," recognizes the clever pianoforte player in the 
Variations but cannot see evidences in them of equal cajiacity 
as a composer. He likes some of them and "willingly admits" 
that those on "Une fievre brulante" are "more successful than 
those of ISIozart, who in his early youth also treated the same sub- 
ject." But Mozart did not write the variations referred to, and 
when Gretry's "Richard Coeur de Lion," from which the thcino 
was borrowed, was first performed in Paris, Mozart was not in 
his "early youth" but 28 years old. The critic descants with dis- 
approval on "certain harshnesses in the modulations," illustrating 
them; holds up Haydn as a model chooser of themes, and com- 
mends the comments of Vogler on a set of variations on "(Jod 
save the King" ])rinted in a little book on the subject. Thus 
Beethoven foinid, in tJie first recognition of hiitisclf as a (•oini)oser 
in that journal, two compositions which he <iid not think worthy 
of opus numbers, to the neglect of all his better works, made the 
subject of censure and ridicule for the purpose of i)ufling and adver- 
tising a pamphlet by Vogler. Were his own sul)s<'(|uent Varia- 
tions on "(k)d save tlic King" an effect of iJiis arfich'? 

No. 23 of the "Allgcnn-ine Musikaliscjic Zciluug" contains 
nearly two pages from the pen of Spazi<T on Licchtcnsl<'in's opera, 
"Die steinerne Braut," and a parallel between Beethoven and 



306 OChe Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Wblffl as pianists. Then in the next number the beautiful Trio, 
Op. 6, finds a reviewer. Here is the whole of his article: 

This Trio, which in part is not easier but more flowing than many 
other pieces by the same author, makes an excellent ensemble on the 
pianoforte with accompaniment. The composer with his unusual har- 
monic knowledge and love for serious composition would provide us 
many things which would leave many hand-organ things far in the rear, 
even those composed by famous men, if he would but try to write more 
naturally. 

Could one say less.^* 

The "Leipsic oxen" are now ruminating upon the noble 
Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violin, Op. 12, and No. 36 (June, 1799), 
contains the result: 

The critic, who heretofore has been unfamiliar with the pianoforte 
pieces of the author, must admit, after having looked through these 
strange sonatas, overladen with difficulties, that after diligent and stren- 
uous labor he felt like a man who had hoped to make a promenade with 
a genial friend through a tempting forest and found himself barred every 
minute by inimical barriers, returning at last exhausted and with- 
out having had any pleasure. It is undeniable that Mr. Beethoven 
goes his own gait; but what a bizarre and singular gait it is! Learned, 
learned and always learned — and nothing natural, no song. Yes, to be 
accurate, there is only a mass of learning here, without good method; 
obstinacy, but for which we feel but little interest; a striving for strange 
modulations, an objection to customary associations, a heaping up of 
difficulties on difficulties till one loses all patience and enjoyment. Another 
critic (M. Z., No. 24) has said almost the same thing, and the present writer 
must agree with him completely. 

Nevertheless, the present work must not be rejected wholly. It has 
its value and may be of excellent use for already practised pianoforte 
players. There are always many who love difficulties in invention and 
composition, what we might call perversities, and if they play these 
Sonatas with great precision they may derive delight in the music as 
well as an agreeable feeling of satisfaction. If Mr. v. B. wished to deny 
himself a bit more and follow the course of nature he might, with his 
talent and industry, do a great deal for an instrument which he seems to 
have so wonderfully under his control. 

Let us pass on to No. 38 of the journal, where we find half a 
dozen notices to arrest our attention. Variations by Schuppanzigh 
for two violins are "written in good taste and conveniently for 
the instrument"; variations for the pianoforte by Philip Freund 
are very satisfactory and "some among them belong to the best of 
their kind"; variations by Heinrich Eppinger for violin and violon- 
cello "deserve honorable mention"; but "X Variations pour le 
clavecin sur le Duo 'La stessa, la stessissima' par L. v. Beethoven" 
the critic "cannot at all be satisfied with, because they are stiff 



Change in the Tone of Criticism 307 

and strained; and what awkward passages are in them, where harsh 
tirades in continuous semitones create an ugly relationship and 
the reverse! Xo; it is true; Mr. van Beethoven may be able to 
improvise, but he does not know how to write variations." 

Now, however, the tide begins to turn. After an interval 
of nearly four months, in No. 2 of Vol. II (October, 1799), the 
Sonatas, Op. 12, for Pianoforte and Violin have a page allotted to 
them. A few sentences to show the tone of the article will suffice; 
for the praise of Beethoven needs no repetition: 

It is not to be denied that Mr. v. B. is a man of genius, possessed 
of originality and who goes his own way. In this he is assured by his 
extraordinary thoroughness in the higher style of writing and his unusual 
command of the instrument for which he writes, he being unquestionably 
one of the best pianoforte composers and players of our time. His 
abundance of ideas, of which a striving genius never seems to be able to 
let go so soon as it has got possession of a subject worthy of his fancy, 
only too frequently leads him to pile up ideas, etc. Fancy, in the extra- 
ordinary degree which Beethoven possesses, supported, too, by extra- 
ordinary knowledge, is a valuable possession, and, indeed, an indispen- 
sable one for a composer, etc. The critic, who, after he has tried to 
accustom himself more and more to Mr. Beethoven's manner, has learned 
to admire him more than he did at first, can scarcely suppress the wish 
that .... it might occur to this fanciful composer to practise a certain 

economy in his labors This tenth collection, as the critic has 

said, seems deserving of high praise. Good invention, an earnest, manly 
style, .... well-ordered thoughts in every part, difficulties not carried 
to an excess, an entertaining treatment of the harmony — lift these Sonatas 
above the many. 

In Xo. 21 (February, 1800) justice is done to the "Sonate 
pathetique." Except a passing notice of the ])ublication of the 
Quartets, Op. 18, made by a correspondent. Vol. Ill of the "Allg. 
Mus. Zeitung" contains nothing on the works of Beethoven. So 
that more than a year passed between the favoral)le review of 
the "Sonate pathetique" and the letter to Brcitkopf and Iliirtel 
of April 22nd. The mild tone of tJiat missive is, therefore, easily 
explained. The tone of tlu^ journal had completely changed; this 
fact, arul time, had assuaged Beethoven's wrath, aiul finally the 
publisliers in aj^plying to him for manuscripts Jiad made the amende 
honorahlc. 

In the number of May 20th begins, with a notice of the two 
Sonatas for I'ianoforte aiul \'i<)liri. Op. 2.'J and Op. 24. that long 
series of fair, candid and generously eulogistic articles on Beet- 
hoven's works which culminated in July, ISIO. in the magnifieent 
review of the C minor Synq)li()ny by K. '1\ A. Hoffmann — a labor of 
love that laid the foundation of a new school of musical criticism. 



308 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

III. Upon the last topic of the letter to Breitkopf and Hartel 
something remains to be said. It was in the "Intelligenzblatt" 
of the "Allg. Mus. Zeit." for May, 1800, that Rochlitz made a 
touching appeal for aid for the last survivor of Sebastian Bach's 
children. "This family," says he, "has now died out down to 
the single daughter of the great Sebastian Bach, and this daughter 
is now very old. . . . This daughter is starving, . . . The 
publishers of the 'Musik Zeitung' and I offer to obligate if any- 
body shall entrust us with money to forward it in the most expe- 
ditious and careful manner, and to give account of it in the Tntelli- 
genzblatter'." The first account is in the paper for December. 
Regina Susanna Bach publishes her "thanks" for 96 thalers and 
5 silbergroschens contributed, as the "careful account" which is 
appended shows, by sixteen persons, four of whom, in Vienna, 
sent more than 80 florins, leaving certainly but a small sum as' 
the offering of "her Germany." One other — and only one — 
account appears, in June, 1801. It is an acknowledgment by 
Rochlitz, Breitkopf and Hartel and Fraulein Bach of having 
received on May 10th the considerable sum of 307 florins Viennese 
(the equal of 200 thalers) 

through the Viennese musician Andreas Streicher, collected by Streicher 
and Count Fries. At the same time the famous Viennese composer Herr 
van Beethoven declares that he will publish one of his newest works 
solely for the benefit of the daughter of Bach .... so that the good old 
lady may derive the benefit of it from time to time. Therefore he 
nobly urges that the publication be hastened as much as possible lest 
the daughter of Bach die before his object be attained. 

Whether or not any such work was published is not known. 
Unsupported conjectures as to the names left blank in the letter 
to Amenda when originally printed in the "Signale" are of no 
use, and if made might hereafter expose the conjecturer to just 
ridicule; there remain, then, but two topics which require a word 
of comment — ^the year omitted in the date, and the friend of his 
youth of whom Beethoven speaks in such strong terms of affec- 
tion — both of which, however, may better be disposed of, in 
what is to be said upon the letter to Wegeler of June 29th. 

This long, important and very interesting paper affords an 
illustration of the readiness with which a conjecture may be ac- 
cepted as a truth, until one is compelled to subject it to rigid 
examination. Thus, in using this letter for a particular purpose,^ 
Wegeler's date "most probably 1800" was accepted, as it had 
universally been for forty years, without question; but the moment 

^The attempt to fix the chronology of Beethoven's works. 



Arrival in Vienna of Anton Reicha 309 

it became necessary to subject its entire contents to careful 
scrutiny, for the purposes of this biography, the error became at 
once so apparent as really to awaken a feeling of mortification 
for the temporary blindness that allowed it to pass unquestioned. 
The allusions to Susanna Bach ("You see it is very convenient, 
etc."), to his change of lodgings, to the publication of his portrait 
by Artaria, and (in the second letter) to the change of his physicians, 
are all more or less indicative of the true date, 1801, while the 
mention of Breuning's return to Vienna is proof positive. Finally, 
the similarity, almost identity, of passages in the Amenda letter 
to portions of this, shows that the two belong to the same June. 
Thus we at last have the gratification of seeing these two valuable 
documents fall easily and naturally into their true place in Beet- 
hoven's history. It is worth noting that this Wegeler letter offers 
— at the least, appears to offer — an example of Beethoven's occa- 
sional loose way of making statements; as in the letter to Breit- 
kopf and Hiirtel he writes as if he had half a dozen unpublished 
concertos on hand, so now he speaks of having "already given 
several" Ahademien; and yet the most careful research has failed 
to show that his concerts were at this time more than llu'ce in 
number in all; or that he had ever even given more than one 
public concert in Vienna. Perhaps, however, he may have included 
those given in Prague in his "several." As nothing can be added 
to his account of his bad health and incipient deafness, we pass to 
the passages upon Breuning and Ries. 

IV. The opinion was before expressed, that the "man" spoken 
of in the Amenda letter as having come to Vienna, to Beethoven's 
comfort, was Anton Reicha.^ They were alike in age- Reicha 
being but a few months the elder — and alike in tastes and pursuits. 
Reicha was superior in the culture of schools and in what 
is called musical learning; Beethoven in genius and originality 
as a comj)oser and in skill as a pianist. The talents of each 
commanded the respect of the other. Both were aspiring, aml)i- 
tious, yet diverged sufficiently in their views of art to prevent 
all invidious rivalry. Ifeiclia gained a repniation which, in 
process of time, secured him the higli position which he held during 
the last twenty years of his life — that of IMehul's successor in 
the Paris Conservatoire. 

To Beethoven, who was still digesting plans for musical tours, 
the experience of }u"s friend must have been of great value; not 
less to Reicha the experience of Beethoven in Vienna. Hut he 

•The German editor of Vol. II insists fli.it it was not Reicha but Stcphan von 
Breuning — though he permits all of Thayer's argument to stand. 



310 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

was by no means dependent upon Beethoven for an introduction 
into the highest musical circles of the capital. It has been shown 
in a previous chapter how freely the salons were opened to every 
talented young musician, but beyond this he bore a well-known 
name and the veteran Haydn kindly remembered him as one of 
the promising young men who had paid him their respects in 
Bonn. His opera "Ubaldi" was performed in Prince Lobkowitz's 
palace, and this probably led to his introduction to the Empress 
Maria Theresia, who gave him an Italian libretto, "Argene Regina 
di Granata," for composition, in which the Empress herself sang 
a part at the private performance in the palace. 

Thus Beethoven and Reicha again met and lived on equal 
terms. "We spent fourteen years together,"^ said the latter, "as 
closely united as Orestes and Pylades, and were always together 
in our youth. After an eight years' separation we met each other 
again in Vienna and confided all our experiences to each other." 

V. When W^egeler says of Stephan von Breuning, "But he 
had, with short interruptions, spent his life in closest association 
with Beethoven from his tenth year to his death," he says too 
much; and too little when he writes that Beethoven "had once 
broken for a considerable space with Breuning (and with what 
friend did he not?)" For besides the quarrel, which Ries describes, 
there came at last so decided a separation that Breuning's name 
disappears from our history for a period of eight to ten years — 
and that, too, not from his fault. 

It was impossible that the two should have met in 1801 on 
such terms as those on which they had parted in 1796. Breuning 
had passed this interval of five years in a small provincial town, 
Mergentheim, in the monotonous routine of a petty office, in the 
service of a semi-military, semi-religious institution which had so 
sunk in grandeur and power as to be little more than a venerable 
name — a relic of the past. In the same service he had now re- 
turned to Vienna. How Beethoven had been employed, and how 
he had risen, we have seen. Thus, their relative positions in 
society had completely changed. Beethoven now moved famil- 
iarly in circles to which Breuning could have access only by his 
or some other friend's protection. 

In view of the relation in which Wegeler stood to the Breuning 
family, Beethoven might well have said more about "Steffen," 
but not easily less. Even here something of patronizing conde- 
scension in the tone makes itself felt, which becomes far too 

iProm 1785 to the end of October, 1792; and from the winter 1800-'01 to 1808; 
two periods of seven years each, separated by the eight years' interval. 



Beethoven and Stephan von Breuning 311 

pronounced when he speaks of him in the second letter — that of 
November. Reading these passages in connection with those 
unlucky sentences in the Amenda letter, which have been censured 
in another place, one feels that Breuning had been made sensible, 
to a painful degree, how great his friend had grown. Wegeler 
himself is struck by Breuning's non-appearance at Beethoven's 
private concert, and remarks: "He must have felt his dis- 
appointment with this old friend all the more, since Breuning 
had been developed by Father Ries from an amateur to a most 
admirable violinist, and had several times played in electoral 
concerts." 

The more thoroughly the character of Breuning is examined, 
not only in his subsequent relations to Beethoven but also in 
the light of all that is known of him as a public official, as a hus- 
band, father and friend, the higher he stands as a man. Under 
circumstances, in his office, fitted to try his patience beyond the 
ordinary limits of endurance, he never failed to bear himself 
nobly, as a man of high principle, ever ready to sacrifice private 
and personal considerations to the call of duty. In private life 
he was invariably just, generous, tenacious of the right. What- 
ever causes he may have had on divers occasions to complain 
of Beethoven, we learn nothing of them from his correspondence 
so far as it has been made public, unless a single passage cited by 
Wegeler be thought an exception; yet this is but the expression 
of heartfelt sorrow and compassion — not one word of anger. And 
we know that Beethoven, when in distress, never turned to liim 
in vain for sympathy nor for such aid as was in his ])ow(t to 
give. In the miserable years to come the reader will learn enougli 
of Breuning, though by no means a prominent figure, to feel 
respect and admiration for his character, and to see for himself 
how unjust to him were those letters — written by Beethoven 
under the impulse of short-lived choler — whicli Ries has con- 
tributed to the "Notizen." There is some tempt.Mtion fo think 
that Breuning was of those whom Beethoven "estimated at only 
what they were worth to liim"; but let us trust that, sjionid 
ever the blanks in tlie Amenda letter be filK'd from the autograph, 
his name will not be found — certainly not, if the conjecture as 
to the time of Amenda's residence in Vienna prove correct. It 
is difficult to avoid saying either too nmch or too little on such a 
topic as this of Breuning and Beethoven -tostrike the just medium 
in the strength of the language user]; l)ut tlie subject has been 
made the occasion of so much injudicious comment, it was not 
possible to pass it over. 



312 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

VI. The 'Tntelligenz-Blatt" of Bonn, under date of Novem- 
ber 30, 1784, announces the baptism, on the preceding day, of 
Ferdinand, son of Franz Ries. 

Like many others who have become eminent musicians, his taste 
and capabihties manifested themselves very early; as, at five years old, 
he began his musical education under his father, and afterwards under 
Bernhard Romberg, the celebrated violoncello player. 

The French invasion, the departure of Romberg in conse- 
quence (1794) from Bonn, and the pecuniary straits to which 
Franz Ries was reduced, 

prevented much attention being, for some time, paid to the instruction 

of his son At last, when he was about thirteen ("he had reached 

the age of 13 years", says the "Rheinischer Antiquarius"), a friend of his 
father took him to Arnsberg in Westphalia, for the purpose of learning 
thoroughbass and composition from an organ-player in that neighbor- 
hood The pupil proved so much the more able to teach of the 

two, that the organist was obliged to give the matter up at once and 
proposed to young Ries to teach him the violin instead. As a pis-aller, 
this was accepted; and Ries remained at Arnsberg about nine months, 
after which he returned home. Here he remained upwards of two years, 
improving himself in his art with great industry. ... At length, in 
the year 1801, he went to Munich with the same friend who had formerly 
taken him to Arnsberg. Here he was thrown upon his own resources; 
and throughout the trying and dispiriting circumstances which, with 
slight exception, attended the next years of his life, he appears to have 
displayed a firmness, an energy, and an independence of mind, the more 
honorable, perhaps, from the very early age at which they were called 
into action. At Munich, Mr. Ries was left by his friend, with little 
money and but very slender prospects. He tried for some time to pro- 
cure pupils, but was at last reduced to copy music at three-pence per 
sheet. With this scanty pittance, he not only continued to keep him- 
self free from embarrassments, but saved a few ducats to take him to 
Vienna, where he had hopes of patronage and advancement from Beet- 
hoven He set out from Munich with only seven ducats and 

reached Vienna before they were exhausted! 

The citations are from that noble musical journal the London 
"Harmonicon," and belong to an article on Ries published in 
March, 1824. They correspond perfectly to a sketch of Ries's 
life in the "Rheinischer Antiquarius," although there are suflScient 
differences to show that the materials of the two articles were 
drawn from independent sources. The "Antiquarius" (Part III, 
Vol. II, p. 62), however, dates Ries's arrival in Munich 1800, the 
"Harmonicon" giving it 1801. But the difference is rather 
apparent than real, since the winter of 1800-1801 includes them 
both, and is therefore of very little import. But when Ries, in 



Beethoven and Ferdinand Ries 313 

the "Xotizen" (p. 75), says: "On my arrival in Vienna in 1800," 
the discrepancy is one not to be passed over without investigation; 
not that it is a matter of much interest in itself when a boy of 
fifteen or sixteen years became a pupil of Beethoven, but because 
of its bearing upon other and weightier questions in the chronol- 
ogy of the master's life and works. Which, then, is correct? 

x\yrton, the editor of the "Harmonicon," could have obtained 
(in 18'-24) the date for his article only from Ries himself, as in 
fact the internal evidence proves him to have done. It was pub- 
lished after the announcement of Ries's farewell concert in London, 
with the evident intention of aiding in securing its success, and 
must have been presented to Ries for revision before it was sent 
to press. Ries, therefore, must have erred by a lapse of memory, 
in 1824 as he admitted he may have done, or in December, 1837, 
when he wrote the "Xotizen." As for the wTiter, he has no hesi- 
tation in accepting September or October, 1801, as the date of 
Ries's advent in Vienna. Thus the last of these errors — that of 
Wegeler in his date of the letter of June 29; that of Schindler 
(in his first editions) in the date of the "Christus am 011)erg"; 
and this of Ries — which had thrown all this period of Beethoven's 
history into a confusion that seemed inextricable, is satisfactorily 
rectified, and the current of the narrative now flows as clear and 
unimpeded here as in any other part. 

Let us return to it. The "Harmonicon" proceeds: 

Ries' hopes from his father's early friend, were not disappointed; 
Beethoven received him with a cordial kindness, too rare, alas! from nuMi 
who have risen to eminence and distinction towards those whose claim 
upon them is founded on the reminiscences of their humble state. He 
at once took the young man under his immediate care and tuition; 
advanced him pecuniary loans, which his subsequent coikIikI com cried 
to gifts; and allowed him to be the first to take the title of pupil and 
appear in public as such. 

So also the "Notizen": 

In the letter of recommendation from my father there had been 
opened a small credit account to be uscnl in case of need. I never made 
use of it but, when a few times Beethoven <liscovered that I was .short of 
funds, he .sent me moix-y without being asked and never wanted to take 
it back. He was really very fond of me. of which fact he once in his 
absent-minfledness gave me a very comical proof. Once when I rcturnc(l 
from Silesia, where I had spent .some time at the country-seat «)f J'rmre 
Lichnowsky as pianist on the recommendation of n<'<>thovcn, and entered 
his room he was about to shave himself and liad lathered his face up 
to his eyes — for so far his fearfully stiff beard reached. He jumped up. 
embraced me cordially and thereby transferred .so much of the hither 



314 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

from his left cheek to my right that he had none left. Did we laugh? 
Beethoven must also have learned privately how matters had gone with 
me; for he was acquainted with many of my youthful escapades, with 
which he only teased me. In many cases he disclosed a really paternal 
interest in me. 

"But with all his kindness" continues the "Harmonicon," 

Beethoven would not give Ries instruction in thoroughbass or com- 
position. He said it required a particular gift to explain them with 
clearness and precision, and, besides that, Albrechtsberger was the 
acknowledged master of all composers. This latter had almost given up 
teaching, being very old, and was persuaded to take a new pupil only by 
the strong recommendation of Beethoven and by the temptation of a 
ducat a lesson. Poor Ries' ducats ran only to the number of 28 ; after 
this he was driven to his books again. 

So it appears that he was Beethoven's pupil only upon the 
pianoforte. The manner in which he was taught is also described 
in the "Notizen" : 

When Beethoven gave me a lesson I must say that contrary to 
his nature he was particularly patient. I was compelled to attribute 
this and his friendly disposition, which was seldom interrupted, chiefly 
to his great affection and love for my father. Thus, sometimes, he would 
permit me to repeat a thing ten times, or even oftener. In the Variations 
dedicated to the Princess Odescalchi (Op. 34), I was obliged to repeat 
the last Adagio variations almost entirely seventeen times; yet he was 
still dissatisfied with the expression of the little cadenza, although I 
thought I played it as well as he. On this day I had a lesson which 
lasted nearly two hours. If I made a mistake in passages or missed 
notes arid leaps which he frequently wanted emphasized he seldom said 
anything; but if I was faulty in expression, in crescendos, etc., or in the 
character of the music, he grew angry because, as he said, the former was 
accidental while the latter disclosed lack of knowledge, feeling, or atten- 
tiveness. The former slips very frequently happened to him even when 
he was playing in public. 

"I often played on two fortepianos with Ries," says Czerny, 
"among other things the Sonata, Op. 47, which had been arranged 
for two pianofortes. Ries played very fluently, clear but cold."^ 

Here we have a key to the identity of so many of Ries's and 
Czerny 's facts and anecdotes of those years, written out by them 
independently; the latter, as he assures us, having first become 
acquainted with the "Notizen" through the quotations of Court 
Councillor Lenz. The two brilliant boys, thrown so much together, 
w^ould never weary of talking of their famous master. The stories 
of his oddities and eccentricities, minute facts relating to his 

'From O. Jahn's posthumous papers. 



The Recollections of Ries and Czerny 315 

compositions, were, therefore, common property; and it is clear 
that some which in this manner became known to Ries at last 
assumed in his memory the aspect of personal experiences and, 
as such, are related in the "Xotizen." The author of this work 
once introduced an incident into something that he was writing, 
under the full conviction of having been an actor in it, which he 
now knows was only related to him by his brother. Yet only 
some six or seven years had elapsed, whereas Ries wrote of a 
period which ended thirty-five years before. 
Another remark of Czerny 's is as follows: 

WTien the French were in Vienna for the first time, in 1805, Beet- 
hoven visited a number of officers and generals who were musical and 
for whom he played Gluck's "Iphigenia in Tauris" from the score, to 
which they sang the choruses and songs not at all ill. 1 begged the 
score from him and at home wrote out the pianoforte score as I had heard 
him play it. I still have this arrangement (Nov^emher, 185'-2). From 
that time I date my style of arranging orchestral works, and he was 
always wholly satisfied with my arrangements of his symphonies, etc. 

A lad who, though not yet fifteen years old, was able to write 
a pianoforte score of such an opera after a single hearing, certainly 
deserved the testimonial to his talent which, tliough written by 
another hand, was signed at the time by Beethoven and sealed. 
The testimonial, in the possession of the Gesellschaft der Musik- 
freunde in Vienna, runs as follows: 

We, the undersigned, cannot withhold from the lad Carl Czerny, 
who has made such extraordinary progress on the pianoforte, far sur- 
passing what might be expected from a boy of f<Mirtcen years, that for 
this reason, and also because of his marvelous memory, he is deserving,' of 
all possible support, the more since his parents have expended their 
fortune in the education of this promising son. 

Vienna, December 7, 1805. 

Ludwig van Beethoven. (Seal) 

The master had early and wisely warned Jiim against a too 
free use of his extraordinary memory. "My nuisical memory,'* 
Czerny writes, 

enabled me to play the Beethovcnian works by heart without exception, 
and during the years 1H01-18().5 I was obhp-d to pl.iy lhes<> works in 
this manner at T'rinee Liehnowsky's onc-e or twie<; a w<-ek, Ur. calling out 
only tin; desired opus rMnnl)er. FJ<-ethoven, who w.us |)resent^ a few 
times, was not pleased. "Even if he i)lays correctly on the wiiol.-." he re- 
marked, "he will for^,'et in this manner tlie (piiek survey, the a vista- 
playing and, o<;c{isionally, the correct expression." 

Very neat is the anecdote which Czerny relates in tin- "Wiener 
Musikzeitung" of September 28t]i, 184.5, how, after he had 



316 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

outgrown his studies, he was deservedly reprimanded for a few 
additions which he made on his own account in one of his mas- 
ter's works. 

On the whole he was pleased with my performance of his works 
.... but he scolded me for every blunder with a kind freedom which 
I shall never forget. When once, for instance, I played the Quintet with 
Wind-Instruments with Schuppanzigh, I permitted myself, in a spirit of 
youthful carelessness, many changes, in the way of adding difficulties to 
the music, the use of the higher octave, etc. — Beethoven took me severely 
to task in the presence of Schuppanzigh, Linke and the other players. 
The next day I received the following letter from him, which I copy care- 
fully from the original draft: 

"Dear Czerny: 

"To-day I cannot see you, but to-morrow I will call on you myself 
to have a talk with you. I burst forth so yesterday that I was sorry 
after it had happened; but you must pardon that in an author who 
would have preferred to hear his work exactly as he wrote it, no matter 
how beautifully you played in general. I will make loud amends at the 
Violoncello Sonata (I was to play his Violoncello Sonata with Linke the 
next week). Be assured that as an artist I have the greatest wishes for 
your success and will always try to show myself, 

Your 

true Friend 

Beethoven." 

This letter did more than anything else to cure me of the desire 
to make any changes in the performance of his works, and I wish that 
it might have the same influence on all pianists. 



Chapter XXI 



Beethoven's Love-Affairs — The Letter to the "Immortal 
Beloved" — Giulietta Giiicciardi — Therese Brunswick — 
Countess Erdody — Therese Malfatti — Confused Chronol- 
ogies — Many Contradictory Theories and Speculations. 

IN the letter dated November 16, Beethoven's strong expres- 
sions of desire and intention to exhibit his powers as pianist and 
composer in other cities, are striking and worthy of the reader's 
attention, yet need no comment; but a new topic there introduced 
must be treated at some length, not because it is of very great 
importance in itself, but as an episode in the master's life which 
has employed so many pens and upon which biographer and 
novelist seem to have contended which could make the most of 
it and paint it in the highest romantic colors.^ 

The sentences referred to are: "I am living more pleasantly 
since. I live more amongst men. . . . This change has been 
wrought by a dear fascinating girl, etc." Notwitlistanding all 
that has been written on this text there is little reason to think 
that Beethoven's passion for this particularly fascinating girl was 
more engrossing or lasting than at other periods for otlu-rs, altJiough 
peculiar circumstances subse(|uently kei)t it more alive in liis 
memory. The testimony of Wegeler, Brcuning, Romberg, Ries, 

'The Editor of this English edition of Thayer's "Life of Beethoven" is unwilling 
to admit that the author's arKiimont against the Connlrss Guiceiardi as the la.ly to 
whom the famous love-letter which is the hasis of the episodf n-fcrri-d to by the author, 
has l)<<n disproved; or that the bur<l<-n of [)ro«f is against Thayt-r's Ih.-ory ( niv.-r put 
forward as a demonstrated fact, hut rather as what tlie s<i<ntists <all a "working hyp<»lh- 
esis") that the ohject of his love at the time the letter was written was the ('..nntes.s 
Therese Hrunswiek (or Brunsvik, as the Hungarian hrnneh of the family wrote the 
name). The question is one of great diflfi<ully. however, and the Editor has thought 
it wise, expedient and only fair to the memory of Mr. Thayer, to hring together the 
dxsjrrta mcmhra of his argument as they are to he found in the horjy of Vol. II and the 
body and Api>endiecs of Vol. Ill of theoriginal (ierman edition, in a eonlinuous chapter, 
and then to add. in the form of a comprehensive postscript, an ahstra. t of the opinion 
of others and some suggestions of his own touching the woman who. though not yet 
definitively identified, wears the halo which streams from the title which Beethoven 
bestowed iipon her— his "Immortal Beloved." It will he observed that the question 
turns largely on an adjustment of dates — a necessary procedure in other affairs of 
Beethoven's besides those of his heart. 

(317) 



318 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

has been cited to the point that Beethoven "was never without 
a love, and generally deeply engrossed in it." 

In Vienna (says Wegeler) at least as long as I lived there, Beethoven 
always had a love-affair on his hands, and occasionally made conquests 
which, though not impossible, might have been difficult of achievement 

to many an Adonis I will add that, so far as I know, every one 

of his sweethearts belonged to the higher social stations. 

So, also, friends of Beethoven with whom Jahn conversed 
in 1852. Thus according to Carl Czerny he was said to have been 
in love with a Countess Keglevics, who was not generally considered 
handsome. The Sonata in E-flat, Op. 7 (dedicated to her), was 
called "Die Verliebte" ("The Maiden, or Woman, in Love"). Dr. 
Bertolini, friend and physician of Beethoven from 1806 to 1816, 
said: "Beethoven generally had a flame; the Countess Guicciardi, 
Mme. von Frank, Bettina Brentano and others." He was not 
insensible to ladies fair and frail. Dolezalek, a music teacher 
who came to Vienna in 1800 and was the master's admirer and 
friend to the last, adds the particular that "he never showed that 
he was in love." 

In short, Beethoven's experience was precisely that of many 
an impulsive man of genius, who for one cause or another never 
married and therefore never knew the calm and quiet, but un- 
changing, affection of happy conjugal life. One all-absorbing but 
temporary passion, lasting until its object is married to a more 
favored lover, is forgotten in another destined to end in like 
manner, until, at length, all faith in the possibility (for them) of 
a permanent, constant attachment to one person is lost. Such 
men after reaching middle age may marry for a hundred various 
motives of convenience, but rarely for love. 

Upon this particular passion of Beethoven, the present writer 
labors under the disadvantage of being compelled to subordinate 
his imagination to his reason and to sacrifice flights of fancy 
to the duty of ascertaining and imparting the modicum of truth 
that underlies all this branch of Beethoven literature, of extract- 
ing the few grains of wheat from tJbe immense mass of chaff. With 
what success remains to be seen. 

W^hen Schindler, in perusing the "Notizen," came to the 
passages above quoted, with his usual agility in jumping at con- 
clusions he decided at once, that Beethoven here refers to the 
Countess Julia Guicciardi, and so states in his book; probably 
hitting the truth nearer than on the next page, where he makes 
Fraulein Marie Koschak the object of Beethoven's "autumnal 



Relations with the Countess Guicciardi 319 

love," some half a dozen years before the two had ever met. In 
this case, however, there is no reason to suppose him mistaken. 

On the 16th of November, 1801— the date of Beethoven's 
letter — the Countess Guicciardi was just one week less than seven- 
teen years of age. She is traditionally described as having had a 
good share of personal attractions, and is known to have been 
a fine looking woman even in advanced years. She appears to 
have possessed a mind of fair powers, cultivated and accomplished 
to the degree then common to persons of her rank; but it is not 
known that she was in any way eminently distinguished, unless 
for musical taste and skill as a pianist, which may perhaps 
be indicated in the dedication to her of a sonata by Kleinheinz 
as well as by Beethoven. 

Julia Guicciardi's near relationship to the Brunswicks would 
naturally throw her into the society of Beethoven immediately 
upon the transfer of her father from Trieste to Vienna; their 
admiration of his talents, their warm affection for him as a 
man, would awaken her curiosity to see him and create a most 
natural prejudice in his favor. Coming to the capital from a 
small, distant provincial town when hardly of an age to enter 
society, and finding herself so soon distinguished by the particular 
attentions and evident admiration of a man of Beethoven's social 
position and fame, might well dazzle the imagination of a girl of 
sixteen, and dispose her, especially if she possessed more than 
common musical taste and talents, to return in a certain degree 
the affection proffered to her by the distinguisliod author of tiic 
Symphony, the Quartet, the Septet, tlie "Prometlieus" music, 
and so many wonderful sonatas, by the unrivalled ])ianist, the 
generous, impulsive, enthusiastic artist, although unprepossessing 
in person and una})le to offer either weallli or a title. There 
was romance in the affair. Besides tliese considerations there 
are traditions and reminiscences of old friends of the composer 
all tending to confirm the opinion of Schindler, tJiat the 
"fascinating girl" was indeed tlu^ young Counfcss (luirciardi. 
That writer, Iiowever, knew nothing of the niatlcr until twenty 
years afterwards; but what he learned came from Beethoven 
himself. 

It happened, when the topic came up between them, "tliat, 
being in a public place where he did not like to trust himself 
to speak," says Schindh-r, Beethoven also wrote his share in the 
conversation, so far as it relalerl to this subject; henee jiis words 
may still be read in a Conversation Book of February, 1H4.'}, 
preserved in the Royal Library at Berlin. I lis statements have 



320 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

certainly gained nothing in clearness from his whim of writing 
them in part in bad French. 

It is proper to state, before introducing the citation from 
this book, that the young lady married Count Wenzel Robert 
Gallenberg, a prolific composer of ballet and occasional music, 
on the 3rd of November, 1803. The young pair soon left Vienna 
for Italy and were in Naples in the spring of 1806; for Gallenberg 
was one of the composers of the music for the fetes, on the occasion 
of Joseph Bonaparte's assumption of the crown of the Two Sicilies. 
When the Neapolitan Barbaja took charge of the R. I. Opera at 
Vienna, toward the close of 1821, he made the Count an associate 
in the administration, and thus it happened that Schindler had 
occasion to call upon him with a message from Beethoven. 

The Conversation Books of those years show, that the question 
of selling the opera, "Fidelio," to various theatres, was one often 
discussed by Beethoven and his friends, and, also, that the author 
had no complete copy of the score. It thus became necessary 
to borrow one for the purpose of copying the whole or parts; 
and at this point we turn to the Conversation Book. Schindler, 
in the midst of a long series of remarks upon heterogeneous topics, 
expresses surprise that the Dresden theatre has never purchased 
"Fidelio," and adds his opinion, that Weber will do all in his 
power to further Beethoven's interest, both in regard to the opera 
and to the Mass in D. Then follows political news — Spain, Eng- 
land, etc. — and the sale or hypothecation by Dr. Bach of certain 
bank shares on which Beethoven wishes to raise money; and then: 

Schindler: Now as to "Fidelio"; what shall, what can I do to expedite 
that.' 

Beethoven: Steiner has the score. 

Schindler: I shall go to Count Gallenberg, who will lend it to you 
for a time with pleasure. It would be best if you were to have it copied 
at your own expense. You may ask 40 ducats. (After a farther remark 
or two he promises to see Gallenberg "to-morrow morning"; some pages 
farther is the report) : 

Schindler: Gallenberg presents his compliments; he will send the 
score, provided they have two copies. If this is not the case he will have 
the score copied for you. I am to call on him again in two days. (The 
conversation then turns upon copying certain songs and upon litho- 
graphing the Mass in D; after which): 

Schindler: He (Gallenberg) did not inspire me with much respect 
to-day. 

Beethoven: I was his invisible benefactor through others. 

Schindler: He ought to know that, so that he might have more 
respect for you than he seems to have. (Kitchen affairs follow here for 
a space; then Beethoven takes the pencil and writes) : 



A Conversation about the Countess 321 

Beethoven: So it seems you did not find G. favorably disposed to- 
ward me; I am little concerned in the matter, but I should like to know 
what he said. 

Schindler: He replied to me that he thought that you must have 
the score yourself; but when I assured him that you did not have it he 
said that its loss was a consequence of your irregular habits and many 
changes of lodgings. What affair is that of the public.^ And, moreover, 
who will care what such persons think.' What have you decided to do 
in the matter at Steiner's.' To keep quiet still longer.^* Dr. Bach 
recently asked me about it. I thought you wanted to keep the score 
because you had none. Do you want to give the five-part fugue also 
for nothing.'' My dearest friend and master, that is too much generosity 
towards such unworthy persons. You will only be laughed at. (Steiner 
had bought some compositions of B. and not published them.) 

Beethoven: (having asked Schindler if he had seen Gallenberg's wife, 
proceeds) : J^etois bien aime d'elle et plus que jamais son cpoux. II 
etoit pourtant plutot son amani que moi, mais par elle fapprenois de son 
misere et je trouvais un homme de bieUy qui me donriait la somme de 500 ji. 
pour le soulager. II etoit tou jours mon ennemi, c" etoit justement la raison, 
que je fusse tout le bien que possible. 

Schindler: It was for this reason that he added "He is an intoloral)le 
fellow." Probably because of pure gratitude. But forgive them, Lord, 
they know not what they do. Est-ce quil y a longtemps quelle est marice 
avec Mons. de Gallenberg? — Mad. la Comtesse? £tait-elle riche? Elle 
a une belle figure jusquici! 

Beethoven: Elle est nee Guicciardi. Elle etoit Vepouse de lui avant 
son voyage en Italic — arrive a Vienne elle cherchoit moi pleurant, mais je la 
TTieprisois. ' 

Schindler: Hercules at the crossways! 

Beethoven: And if I had wished to give my vital powers with that 
life, what would have remained for the nobler, the better (things)? 

Reverence for the composer, and admiration for his composi- 
tions, must have led many who will read this to the perusal of 
the constantly accumulating literature of which Beethoven and 

'Jahn transcribes the last words ("jc la mfprisois, etc.) ns follows: f-^llr rst nfc 
Guicciardi die Itoil (an illcKibio word marked with an interrogation point) 7// rpoimc do 
lui {avant son voyage) de I' Italic. Arrivce a Vicnnc et die cherchoit moi plcitrunl, mai.i jc 
la meprisois . 

Ludwig Nohl asserts tliat the words "arrivrc a Virnnr" liad \u-ru "ad<icd" l»y 
Schindler. But Schindler printed the passaf,'c in 1S45 as well as in ISfiO tluis: l\llc 

etoit I'cpousc de lui avant son vnyiuje en lltilic Xrrirre a Virnnc rllr rhrnhoit nini 

pleurant, etc. In the erlitif)n of 18(]0 of his l)io>,'raphy of H<<|lioven lie adds the following 
remark: "One of the conversation books of ISid.S, nil of which are preserved in the Royal 
Court Library at Merlin, contains these revelations." If Nolil's assertion is correct 
it follows that Schindler lied and deceived the [niblic, bein^ Kiiilly <'f " forgery which 
escajxd the eyes of both Jahn and Thayer; anti that, fiirthertnore. he was >;iiilty of 
the folly of calling attention to the very book wlios<- contents he had falsilied. N<dd 
asserts further that Ciiulietta had sought an interview with Heellioven iiefore her journey 
to Italy. On such an act he fminds the assertion that tin- young woman, married only 
a few months, was already willing to leave her husband. From circumstances unknown 
to Nohl it is certain that the visit did not lake place until after h<T return to Vienna 
in 1822. 



322 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

his works are the subject; and they must remember the prominence 
accorded to the Guicciardi affair. Will they believe that all the 
established facts, which have ever been made public, are exhausted 
in these pages already? This is literally true. All else is but 
conjecture or mistake. There is nothing in the present state 
of knowledge on this subject to relieve the great mass of turgid 
eloquence expended upon it from being described in one word as — 
nonsense. The foundation for a tragedy is certainly small in a 
case where the lover writes: "It is the first time that I feel as if 
marriage might make me happy"; and immediately adds "now, of 
course, I could not marry!" because the gratification of his 
ambition was more to him than domestic life with the beloved one. 
In November, 1852, Jahn had an interview with the Countess 
Gallenberg. On so delicate a topic as Beethoven's passion for 
her fifty years before, reticence was natural; but had the affair in 
truth been of the importance that others have given it, some hint 
must have confessed it. Yet there is nothing of the kind in his 
notes of the conversation. Here they are: 

Beethoven was her teacher; he had his music sent to her and was 
extremely severe until the correct interpretation was reached down to 
the smallest detail; he laid stress upon a light manner of playing; he 
easily became angry, threw down his music and tore it; he would take 
no pay but linen, although he was very poor, under the pretence that the 
Countess had sewed it. He also taught Princess Odescalchi and Baroness 
Erdmann ; sometimes he went to his pupils, sometimes they came to him. 
He did not like to play his own compositions, but would only improvise. 
At the slightest disturbance he would get up and go away. Count 
Brunswick, who played the violoncello, adored him as did (also) his 
sisters, Therese and Countess Deym. Beethoven had given her (the 
Countess Guicciardi) the Rondo in G, but begged its return when he 
had to dedicate something to the Countess Lichnowsky, and then dedi- 
cated the Sonata to her. B. was very ugly, but noble, refined in feeling 
and cultured. 

In this simple record the lady's memory evidently mistakes 
by overrating the poverty of Beethoven at the time she was his 
pupil and in making him then so negligent in dress. "In his 
earlier years Beethoven dressed carefully, even elegantly; only later 
did he grow negligent, which he carried to the verge of unclean- 
liness," says Grillparzer; and Czerny: "About the year 1813-'14, 
when B. looked well and strong, he also cared for his outward 
appearance." But what a blow to all the supposed romantic 
significance is the short, prosaic account of the dedication of the 
C-sharp minor Sonata to her — a composition which was not a 
favorite with the composer himself. "Everybody is always 



A Conjectural Offer of Marriage 323 

talking about the C-sharp minor Sonata! Surely I have written 
better things. There is the Sonata in F-sharp major — that is 
something very different," he once said to Czerny. 

There is but one well-authenticated fact to be added, namely, 
that Beethoven kept up his intercourse with the family Guicciardi 
certainly as late as May or June, IS'iS, that is, to within six months 
of the young lady's marriage. A careful survey and comparison 
both of the published data and of the private traditions and hints 
gleaned during a residence of several years at Vienna, result in 
the opinion (an opinion, note, not a statement resting on compe- 
tent evidence) that Beethoven at length decided to offer Countess 
Julia his hand; that she was not indisposed to accept it; and that 
one of her parents consented to the match, but the other, probably 
the father, refused to entrust the happiness of his daughter to a 
man without rank, fortune or permanent engagement; a man, 
too, of character and temperament so peculiar, and afflicted with 
the incipient stages of an infirmity which, if not arrested and cured, 
must deprive him of all hope of obtaining any high and remunera- 
tive oflBcial appointment and at length compel him to abandon 
his career as the great pianoforte virtuoso. As the Guicciardis 
themselves were not wealthy, prudence forbade such a marriage. 
Be all this as it may, this much is certain: Beethoven did not 
marry the Countess Julia Guicciardi; Count AVenzel Robert 
Gallenberg did. The rejected lover — true to a principle enunci- 
ated in a letter to Zmeskall of IMarch 29, 1799, "there is no use in 
quarrelling with what cannot be changed" — made the best of it, 
and went to work on the "Sinfoniu eroica"! 

Every reader acquainted with Schindler's book will have 
noticed that two grave matters, connected by him with the 
Guicciardi affair, have been silently passed over, notwithstanding 
the very great importance given to them by him and his copyists. 
They must now be considered. Sfhiudlcr's honest and conscien- 
tious desire to ascertain and inij)art the truth concerning Beethoven 
admits no doubt. 'J'lie spirit was willing, bnt Jiis weakness us an 
investigator was sonietliing extraordinary. His hcli)lessness in 
finding and following the clue out of a difficulty is sonirtinies 
pitiable, sometimes ludicrous. He reminds us, now and tiien, of 
the character described by Addison: "lie is perpetually puzzled 
and pery)lexed amidst his own blunders." 

Take the present matter for an instance. In his first editions 
of the biognij)hy the date given to the (iniccianli affair is 
1800. \Vitli AVegeler's letter before him giving him one fixed point 
— November, 1801— and the "Griifliches Tuschenbuch" to be 



324 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

consulted in every respectable bookstore and public library for the 
day of Gallenberg's marriage, November 3, 1803, he is still at a loss. 
"I had first to come to Paris, there make the acquaintance of 
Cherubini, in order to hit, quite accidentally, upon a certain clue 
for this date for which I had vainly searched in Vienna. Cherubini 
and his wife, soon after their arrival in Vienna in 1805, heard of 
this affair as of something that had happened two years before." 
Following this hint, in his edition of 1860, he changes the 1806 
to 1803 — that is, he adopts the new date because, twenty years 
before, he heard from an old gentleman of 80 years and his wife, 
nearly as old, that, thirty-five years before, they had heard that 
some two years before that time Beethoven had been jilted! They 
also "could say with certainty that the effect upon Beethoven's 
mood had already been overcome"; — which we are very willing to 
hear from them, although the fact needed no confirmation. Again; 
his conversation with Beethoven, given as an appendix to the 
edition of 1845, was suppressed in the first because the Countess 
Gallenberg was then living; the "Taschenbuch" would have 
taught him that this objection remained in force until March 
22nd, 1856 ! How is it possible to read with confidence the opinions 
and statements of so helpless a writer — even when we grant him, 
as we do Schindler, the utmost rectitude of intention — except 
when he speaks from personal knowledge, or upon evidence 
which he shows to be good? 

Having in a manner so extraordinary fixed the date to his 
satisfaction, Schindler proceeds to the catastrophe: 

Yet touching the results of this break upon the spirits of our master, 
so highly blessed by this love, something more may be said. In his 
despair he sought comfort with his approved and particularly respected 
friend Countess Marie Erdody — at her country-seat at Jedlersee, in 
order to spend a few days in her company. Thence, however, he dis- 
appeared and the Countess thought he had returned to Vienna, when, 
three days later, her music-master, Brauchle, discovered him in a distant 
part of the palace gardens. This incident was long kept a close secret, 
and only after several years did those familiar with it confide it to the 
more intimate friends of Beethoven, long after the love-affair had been 
forgotten. It was associated with a suspicion that it had been the purpose 
of the unhappy man to starve himself to death. Those friends who made 
close observation of the attitude of Beethoven towards the music-master 
noticed that he treated him with extraordinary attention thereafter. 

Jedlersee is so near Vienna, that a stout walker like Beet- 
hoven would think nothing of the distance; and for him to obey 
the whim or necessity of the moment, and disappear for two or 
three days, is the very weakest of all grounds for the astounding 



Schixdler's Uxfouxded Conclusions 325 

conjecture here gravely related. But grant for a moment that 
something of the kind, some time or other, really occurred; what 
reason is there to suppose that it happened then, and in connection 
with the Guicciardi matter? None, Credat Judceus Apella, non 
ego. Indeed the whole story, whatever its date and connection, 
is told on such mere hearsay evidence as would not justify the 
police in arresting a beggar. To prevent it from passing into the 
category of established facts — at least in connection with this 
particular love-affair, and until some new and competent proof 
be discovered — it may be remarked : 

I. Schindler's first knowledge of the passion of Beethoven for 
Julia Guicciardi was obtained in 1823. Whatever he heard from 
other sources could only have been afterwards; and in all prob- 
ability was after Beethoven's death, when his attention was re- 
called to the subject by a paper presently to be noticed. He does 
not pretend to have heard this Jedlersee story from any party to 
it; nor could he, for the Countess Erdody had been banished from 
the Austrian dominions long before it could have come to his 
ears. He is, in fact and upon his own showing, gravely detailing 
a mere private rumor, current (he says) among certain friends 
of Beethoven, of an event which happened (if at all) fifteen, 
twenty or thirty years before, and which was surmised by 
them, or by him, to have occurred at the time he was jilted by 
the young Countess Guicciardi. 

II. There is nothing whatever in Ries's reminiscences, most 
of which are of the precise period of tliat affair, whicli, by any 
stretch of fancy, can be made to confirm the story; nay, more, 
they are utterly inconsistent with it. There is nothing even to 
show that he ever observed that his master's relations to tlie 
Guicciardis were in any way remarkable; yet Beethoven's incli- 
nation to the society of women was a point in his character that 
particularly impressed him. "Beethoven," he says, 

was fond of the company of women, cspcrially if they had yoiiiifj and 
pretty fafos, and ^'oncrally when wo p;iss(>(l a sorncwliat chariiiini,' ^irl 
he would turn hack and gaze at licr throu^'h his ^hisses keenly, and hiu^'h 
or grin if he noticed that I was looking at hitn. lie was fre<juently 
in love, but generally only for a short period. Once wIkmi I t\ville<l hitii 
cf)ncernin^ liis conquest of a pretty woman he admit led thai she had 
held him iu the strongest bonds for the longest time, viz., fully seven 
months. 

III. And so too with Breuning. There is no Icllcr, or jiart of 
a letter by him (so far as made known i)y Wcgeler), nor any tra.li- 
tion derived from him, that relates to tliis passion or its supposed 



326 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

consequences; and yet, it is only from one of his letters that we 
know of the proposal of marriage in 1810; nay, more, we shall 
find, in 1803, Beethoven inviting a friend to dine with "Countess 
Guicciardi," at a time when he and Breuning lodged together! 

IV. If the Jedlersee story be true at all in connection with 
this particular lady, the time must have been 1803. But it is 
totally inconsistent with what is known of the composer's history 
during that year. 

V. Brauchle was not the Countess Erdody's music-teacher, 
but the tutor of her children, in which capacity he could hardly 
have been employed at a time when the eldest was not six years 
of age! If we are correctly informed, he was not in that service 
until after the year 1803; nor is it known that Beethoven's inti- 
macy with the Countess had then been formed. In any case, 
the starvation story may be considered as disposed of for the 
present. 

The force of these arguments will be incidentally but mate- 
rially increased by the views — if they find favor and acceptance — 
advanced and supported in a short discussion of the single remain- 
ing question belonging to the Guicciardi affair, to which we 
now come. 

It was well known to Beethoven's friends, that he died pos- 
sessed of a few bank-shares; but where the certificates were depos- 
ited neither his brother, Breuning nor Schindler knew. "B. 
kept his bank-shares in a secret drawer of a cabinet known only 
to Holz," is one of Jahn's notes of a conversation with Carl Holz. 
When Schindler read Jahn's manuscript notices and memoranda 
upon Beethoven and added his comments, he remarked here: 

Johann Beethoven first devoted himself to the disappearance of the 
shares, and not finding them he cried out: "Breuning and Schindler 
must find them." Holz was asked to come, by Breuning, and requested 
to say if he did not know where they were concealed. He knew the 
secret drawer in the old cabinet in which they were kept. 

In that "secret drawer" Breuning found not only the bank- 
certificates, but also various "letters of importance to his friend," 
as Schindler describes them. One of these was a letter with two 
postscripts written by Beethoven on two pieces of note-paper 
with a lead pencil, at some watering-place not named, in the July 
of a year not given and to a person not indicated. It is couched 
in terms of enthusiastic love rarely equalled even in romance, 
being like a translation into words of the most tender and touching 
passages in his most impassioned musical compositions. This 
document, placed in Schindler's possession by Breuning, is the 



Text of the Letter to the "Immortal Beloved" 327 

original of what was first printed in 1840, as, *'three autograph 
letters written by Beethoven to his Giulietta from a bathing- 
place in Hungary"! and which have so often been reprinted at 
various times. The letter is as follows : 

July 6, in the morning. 
My angel, my all, my very self — only a few words to-day and at that 
with pencil (with yours) — not till to-morrow will my lodgings be defini- 
tively determined upon — what a useless waste of time. Why this deep 
sorrow where necessity speaks — can our love endure except through 
sacrifices — except through not demanding everything — can you change 
it that you are not wholly mine, I not wholly thine. Oh, God! look 
out into the beauties of nature and comfort yourself with that which 
must be — love demands everything and that very justly — thus it is with 
me so far as you are concerned, and you with me. If we were wholly united 
you would feel the pain of it as little as I. My journey was a fearful 
one; I did not reach here until 4 o'clock yesterday morning; lacking 
horses the post-coach chose another route — but what an awful one. At 
the stage before the last I was warned not to travel at night — made 
fearful of a forest, but that only made me the more eager and I was 
wrong; the coach must needs break down on the wretched road, a 
bottomless mud road — without such postilions as I had with me I should 
have stuck in the road. Esterhazy, travelling the usual road hitherward, 
had the same fate with eight horses that I had with four — yet I ^ot some 
pleasure out of it, as I always do when I successfully overcome difKcul ties. 
Now a quick change to things internal from things external. We shall 
soon surely see each other; moreover, I cannot communicate to you 
the observations I have made during the last few days touching my own 
life — if our hearts were always close together I would make none of the 
kind. My heart is full of many things to say to you — Ah! — there are 
moments when I feel that speech is nothing after all — cheer uj) — remain 
my true, my only treasure, my all as I am yours; the gods nuist send 
us the rest that which shall be best for us. 

Your faithful I>udwig. 

Evening, Monday, July G. 
You are suffering, my dearest creature — only now have I learned 
that letters must be posted very early in the moruinj^. Mondays, 
Thursdays, — the only days on which the mail-coach goes from here to K. 
^'ou Jirc snfferini,' — Ah! where\er I am Iheni you arc; also. I shall 
arrange affairs between us so that I shall live and li\«' with you. what a 
life! ! ! ! thus! ! ! ! thus williout you |)ursu<'<l hy tiu; j^'oodness of man- 
kind hither and thither — which I as little try to deserve; as I deserve it. 
Huniilily f)f man towards man — it pains me — and when I consider myself 
in connection with the universe, what am I and what is he whom we call 

'Tbc pAlitf)r of this Kn^lisli fdition lakfs tin- lilxriy of iiiscrtiiiK llic icilcr in the 
body of the text. Mr. Tluiyor, or his first (;«Tin!in Kditor, Dr. Dcitors, put it in Itie 
appendix to fhf third volum<-. fi)ll()wiii^ it with an arKumf-nt advanrc*! t(j Hhow that 
it was not a<ldrfvs,scd to thf CoiimIcs.s (Jiiiccianii. Tliis arKiinunl Ihr Ktijjiish Ivlilor 
has also traosfcrred to ihr hofly of tbe text so that the discussion may be read coutin- 
uously. 



328 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

the greatest — and yet — herein Hes the divine in man. I weep when I 
reflect that you will probably not receive the first intelligence from me 
until Saturday — much as you love me, I love you more — but do not ever 
conceal your thoughts from me — good-night — as I am taking the baths 
I must go to bed. Oh, God! so near so far! Is our love not truly a 
celestial edifice — firm as Heaven's vault. 

Good-morning, on July 7. 

Though still in bed my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal 
Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether 
or not fate will hear us. I can live only wholly with you or not at all — 
yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to 
your arms and say that I am really at home, send my soul enwrapped in 
you into the land of spirits. — Yes, unhappily it must be so — you will be 
the more resolved since you know my fidelity — to you, no one can ever 
again possess my heart — none — never — Oh, God, why is it necessary to 
part from one whom one so loves and yet my life in W (Vienna) is 
now a wretched life — your love makes me at once the happiest and the 
unhappiest of men — at my age I need a steady, quiet life — can that be 
under our conditions.? My angel, I have just been told that the mail- 
coach goes every day — and I must close at once so that you may receive 
the L. at once. Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence 
can we achieve our purpose to live together — be calm — love me — to-day — 
yesterday — what tearful longings for you — ^you — ^you — my life — my all — 
farewell — Oh continue to love me — never misjudge the most faithful 
heart of your beloved L. 

ever thine 
ever mine 
ever for each other. 

Among the many persons before whom at various times 
Schindler kindly placed the original for examination were Otto 
Jahn and the present writer, neither of whom ever discovered 
any other reason to suppose this paper to have been intended 
for the Countess Guicciardi than Schindler's conjecture and the 
grounds upon which he had formed it. Bearing in mind that the 
existence of this paper was utterly unknown to either Breuning 
or Schindler until after the death of its writer, who alone could 
have imparted its history, the mental process by which it came to 
be described in the words just quoted, "three autograph letters 
written by Beethoven to his Giulietta from a bathing-place in 
Hungary," is perfectly easy to trace; thus: 

In the first of the three parts, or letters, Beethoven speaks 
of the very disagreeable journey which he had performed with 
four post-horses, and Esterhazy with eight; in the second he writes 
of the "mail-coach from here to K." and again, "As I am taking 
the baths I must go to bed." Now, of the 218 places in the 



When Was the Love-Letter Written? 3^29 

Austrian postal-guide whose names begin with K, a large number 
are in Hungary; the bathing-places in that kingdom are also 
numerous; and Esterhazy's possessions were there; hence 
Schindler's assumption that Beethoven wrote from a Hungarian 
watering-place — which may stand for the present. His conjecture 
as to whom he wrote was of course suggested by his conversation 
in 1823 upon the Countess Gallenberg. This assumption, so 
obvious and natural for him to make that it was accepted unques- 
tioned and even unsuspected for thirty years, must nevertheless 
be tested. 

The document presents three incomplete dates, the year being 
omitted in each: 

"July 6, in the morning." 

"Evening, Monday, July 6." 

"Good-morning on July 7." 

A reference to the almanacs of 1795, 1801, 1807, and 1812, 
shows^that July 6th fell upon a Monday in those years. The 
year 1795 is of course excluded, for Julia Guicciardi had not then 
completed her eleventh year, and we turn at once to 1801. The 
main subjects of Beethoven's letter to Wegeler of June 29t]i were 
his ailments and the. modes of treatment adopted by his medical 
advisers; to which he adds his desire for his friend's counsel, 
Wegeler being a physician of eminent ability and skill. It was 
Wegeler's reply which drew forth the second letter of November 
16, only four and a half months after the first, which continues 
the subject with equal minuteness of detail. If now the reader 
will turn back and carefully reperuse the two, he will see tliat all 
possibility of a journey to some distant watering-place, re(iuiring 
the use of four post-horses, whether in Hungary or elsewhere, in 
the interval between those letters is absolutely excluded by their 
contents. The conclusion is unavoidal)le tJuit the diary was not 
written in 1801. 

But may there not be an error either in the day of tlie month 
or of the week in the words: "Evening, Monday, July (>?" If tlure 
be, tJie inquiry is extended to tlie years ISOO and 1S()2. 

On July 6th, 1800, tlie (Juieeiardi family jiad hardly reached 
Vienna from Trieste. But sui)pose Julia liad been previously 
sent thither to comi)Iete her education, and thus liad become 
known to Beethoven. In tliat case, what is to be tliought of 
guardians and friends who couhl allow lier such liberty, or raflirr 
license, that she, at the age of fifteen and three-(|nart«T years, 
should already have formed \hr relations necessarily implied by 



330 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

the language of the diary with a man twice her age? What, 
too, must be thought of Beethoven ! Granting him to have been, 
as Magdalena Willmann and others said, "half crazy," the man 
certainly was not a fool! 

The year 1800 may also be safely discarded. As to 1802, it 
is superfluous to say more than that in the next chapter will be 
found part of a letter by Beethoven, dated "Vienna, July 13, 1802." 
His stay at the bath must, indeed, have been short if he reached 
it with four post-horses on the 5th and is in Vienna again writing 
letters on the 13th! 

In 1803, July 6th fell upon Wednesday. But there was no 
such error in the date; Beethoven gives the day of the month 
three times in twenty-four hours — twice on the 6th, once on the 
7th. A mistake here is inconceivable. The day of the week, 
indeed, is written but once; but then it is Monday, and Sunday 
and Monday are precisely the two days of the week which one 
most rarely or never mistakes. But that part of the document 
which bears the date "Evening, Monday, July 6" contains certain 
words that are decisive. This part is a postscript to the writing 
of the morning and is written, he says, because he was too late 
for the post on that day, and "Mondays, Thursdays, the only 
days on which the mail-coach goes from here to K." The con- 
clusion is irresistible: Schindler and his copyists are all wrong; 
the document was not written in the years 1800-1803; the "Immor- 
tal Beloved" for whom it was written was not the Countess Julia 
Guicciardi. Therefore, they who have wept in sympathy over 
this Werther's sufferings caused by this Charlotte, may dry their 
tears. They can comfort themselves with the assurance, that the 
catastrophe was by no means so disastrous as represented. The 
affair was but an episode; not the grand tragedy of Beethoven's 
life. But, being a love adventure, it has been treated with fact 
in ratio to fancy like Falstaff's bread to his sack. One author 
in particular, who accepts all Schindler's assumptions and con- 
jectures without question or suspicion, has elaborated the topic 
at great length, though perhaps (to borrow Sheridan's jest) less 
luminously than voluminously. Having wrought up the feelings 
of "his lovely readers, his dear lady friends of Beethoven," to the 
highest pitch possible in a tragedy where the hero, after the 
catastrophe, still lives and prospers, he consoles them a few chapters 
farther on by giving to Beethoven for his one "Love's Labor Lost" 
two new ones gained — the one, a married woman, the other, a 
young girl of fourteen years; and, moreover — if, in the confusion 
of his dates, the reader is not greatly misled — both at the same 



Beethoven's Inaccurate Datings 331 

time! "Also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before," 
saith the ancient Hebrew poet.^ 

Even if one were disposed to attach no great importance to 
the arguments thus far advanced, there are two passages in the 
letter which could not have been written in that brilliant period 
of Beethoven's life (1800-1802) and therefore are conclusive; viz.: 
*'My life in W (Wien = Vienna) is now a wretched life," and "At 
my age I need a quiet, steady life." In fact, the severest critical 
discussion of my argument against the accuracy of Schindler's 
statement has failed to find a flaw in it beyond the unessential 
assertion that Beethoven could scarcely be conceived as having 
erred in the matter of the day of the week. Since then the author 
has himself accidentally learned by experience how a mistake of 
this kind, made in the morning, can easily be perpetuated in 
private letters; he learned it by being compelled to prove the 
absolute accuracy of an official document. 

Every attentive and thoughtful reader of the letter must 
realize that it is irreconcilable with the notion that Beetlioven's 
passionate devotion to the lady was a new and sudden one; also 
that Beethoven had parted with his beloved, whoever she may 
have been, only a short time before; that he writes in the full 
conviction that his love is returned and the desire for a union of 
their fates was mutual, and that by patient waiting tlie obstacles 
then in the way of their purpose to live together would be overcome. 

In the effort to determine when Beethoven wrote in this strain 
his own inaccurate dates cannot be overlooked, but must be dis- 
cussed at the outset of the inquiry. If the words ''Evening, Mon- 
day, July 6," are to be considered conclusive, the investigation will 
have to be confined to the years 1807 and ISl-^, both ISOl and ISIH 
being out of the question. But if an error of a day be assumed, in- 
c|uiry may be extended totlie following years. Inthelirsl threeyears 







180(5 


1807 


180S 


the 5th of July fell on a 




Sulunhiy 


Sunday 


Tu(>sday 


the 0th of July on a 




Sunday 


Mon(l:iy 


Wednesday 


the 7th of July on a 




Monday 


Tuesday 


'IMiiirsday 


In the three later 


years 












1811 


1812 


IKl.'? 


July .'iJh fell on a 




Fri.l.'.y 


Saturday 


Monday 


July (Jtli on a 




S;ilunl;iy 


MoMfJay 


Tur'^day 


July 7th on a 




Sunday 


Tuesday 


Wedrursday 



'From here on the Ivlilor of this Enjjiish oriition prosmts Mr. Tli.iy.-r'.H fiirtlmr 
contentions as they arc set forth in tho first nppctwlix to Vol. Ill of th>- first (i.Tin.'in 
edition, though in the form of a translation — the original raanusrript not having rcucUcci 
bis hands. 



332 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

To pass by other reasons, the years 1808 and 1811 are to be 
excKided because they presuppose an error of two days. There 
remain, then, the years 1806, 1807, 1812 and 1813, which can be 
best studied in their reverse order. The year 1813 shows itself 
at once impossible because of the date of a letter to Varena: 
"Baden, July 4, 1813," besides other circumstances which prove 
that Beethoven spent the months of June and July of this year 
in Vienna and Baden. In a similar manner 1812 must be rejected 
because he wrote a letter to Baumeister on June 28 from Vienna 
and arrived in Teplitz on July 7. 

There remain, then, only the years 1806 and 1807. If we 
are willing to attach too great weight to the improbability of an 
error in Beethoven's dates (July 6 and 7) it would certainly be 
impossible to decide in favor of the year for which other considera- 
tions plead with almost convincing force — viz., 1806. There is a 
letter from Beethoven to Brunswick proposing to visit him in 
Pesth printed with the date "May 14, 1806" which might be 
strong evidence in favor of that year; but, unfortunately, the true 
date is 1807, and so adds to our difficulty. For it is known that 
on July 22nd, 1807 (and for several days at least before), he was 
in Baden, and there is nothing thus far to prove that he did not 
make the proposed visit and return from Hungary in season to 
have written the love-letter on the 6th and 7th of that month; 
this is, it is true, a very unsatisfactory assumption. There is a 
date in a correspondence with Simrock touching the purchase 
of certain works, which, if it could be established with certainty, 
would remove all doubt and provide a satisfactory conclusion. If 
the correspondence took place in 1806 it would be impossible to 
avoid the unsatisfactory assumption. 

The head of the famous house of Simrock once told the 
author that the letters written to his father by Beethoven had been 
stolen (they have since been recovered), and that the only possible 
information on the point might be obtained from the old business 
books of the house. The author asked that they be examined 
for him and his request was most courteously complied with, with 
the result that he was provided with the excerpts from the letters 
of which he has made use in a later chapter. To his great satis- 
faction the most important of the letters bears date May 31, 1807. 
This and the letter following show that Beethoven spent the 
months of June and July 1807 in Baden. 

The result would, then, seem to be irrefutable: — there is an 
error of one day in Beethoven's date. The letter was written in 
the summer which he spent partly in Hungary, partly in Silesia — 



Beethoven's Mor\l Char.\cter Vindicated 333 

the summer of 1806. In all the years from 1800 to 1815 there 
is no other summer in which he might have written the letter 
within the first ten days of July unless we choose to assume a 
state of facts which would do violence to probability. 

But our contention has a much more serious purpose than 
the determination of the date of a love-letter; it is to serve as 
the foundation for a highly necessary justification of Beethoven's 
character at this period in his life. The editor of Beethoven's 
letters to Gleichenstein which appeared in "Westermann's 
Monatsheften" (1865) ^ learned from Gleichenstein's widow that 
the composer had once made a proposal of marriage to her sister 
Therese Malfatti. On the strength of this information, and certain 
references in the letters themselves, the editor founded a singular 
theory; — Beethoven, says the editor in question, fell in love with 
"the dark-brown Therese," who, despite the fact that she was 
"then only 14 years old (in 1807), was fully developed." "His 
love for her was as rapid in its growth as it was in its passionateness, 
but was not returned then or later.'* "The affair was plainly embar- 
rassing to the family, for the passion of the half-deaf, very eccentric 
man of 36 for a girl of fourteen could not fail in the long run to 
become dangerous {misslich)." 

"Why, very well; I hope here be truths," as the Fool says 
in "Measure for Measure." 

Reflect that this was the year of the Mass in C and tlie C 
minor Symphony, and imagine the picture: Beethoven, the mighty 
master, occupied in developing works which stirred the deepest 
depths of the soul. Such on one hand; on tJie other "the lover, 
sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his mistress' 
eyebrow." Or, if one prefer, instead of tlie first picture, a half- 
deaf, eccentric, 36-year old Corydon, wandering al)<)iit by the 
side of mossy brooks vainly pii)ing tunes to a mclaiiclioly early- 
developed and early-loved Phyllis! Let us admit for the nonce 
that tlie amiable picture of Beethoven in 1807 is the correct one; 
tliere is yet no excess of reason based on sense or i)rol>abilily, no 
boundlessness of imagination or immature logic which can assert 
that the letter of July 6 and 7 was written to Therese Malfatti, 
then 13 years old. 

There is still another assumy)tion or suspicion which must 
be tourlicd upon here and if |)ossible refuted; it is that, even in 
1806, Beethoveu's letter w;is addressed tf) tlie Countess (iuieeiardi, 
then already tiie wife of Count Gallenberg. Moreover, a more 

'Ludwig Nohl. 



334 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

natural solution of the difficulties could scarcely be found if it 
could but be proved or accepted as true that the composer was 
one of those exalted musical geniuses, recently lauded by a writer, 
who are "no longer subject to once accepted notions of morals 
and ordinary duties," and who refuse to permit "narrow-minded 
ethics to be lifted to the real laws of existence." If Beethoven had 
been a man of this character, what more should we need to believe 
that in the summer of 1806 he and the lady were impatiently 
awaiting the moment when they might steal away from husband 
and children and thus attain "their purpose to live together," 
heart closely pressed to heart? Here a single objection will 
suffice: Count Gallenberg and his wife had at this time long 
been in Naples. No! This disgrace does not attach to the name 
of Beethoven. 

Those who have thought it worth while to follow the discus- 
sion thus far will now understand why so much time and labor 
were spent on removing all doubt as to the dates of the letters 
of June 29, 1801, and July 6 and 7, 1806, and this after a long 
time had passed during which there had never arisen a doubt in 
the mind of the writer. For if these dates remain jBxed, the 
extended romantic structures which have been reared on the 
sandy foundation of conjecture must fall in ruins. 

The conclusions reached by the study seem as natural as 
they are satisfactory and indubitable. Young Beethoven, pos- 
sessed of a temperament susceptible and excitable in the highest 
degree and endowed not only with extraordinary genius but, 
leaving out of consideration his physical misfortunes, with other 
attractive qualities — the great pianist, the beloved teacher, the 
highly promising composer, admired and accepted gladly in the 
highest circles of society of the metropolis — this Beethoven, as 
Wegeler expresses it, was always in love and generally in the 
highest degree. As he took on years, however, his passions 
cooled, and it is a truth of daily observation that at the last a 
strong and lasting attachment can obtain mastery over the most 
vacillating and fickle lover. According to our conviction this was 
also the case with Beethoven, and most assuredly the famous 
love-letter was addressed to the object of a wise and honorable 
love which had taken control over him. If this be true, and if 
he was so violently in love in 1806, it follows that the references 
in the Gleichenstein correspondence which their editor applies to 
a "completely developed girl of fourteen years of age," in 1807, 
were aimed at an entirely different individual; and this, too, is the 
conviction of the author. 



The Countess Therese von Brunsayick 335 

But who is the lady? it is asked. ^ The secret was too well 
guarded; and she is still unknown. This, only, is certain: that 

1st. Of all Beethoven's friends and acquaintances of the 
other sex whose names are on record one only could have been the 
"Immortal Beloved" of the letter and the party to this project 
of marriage; 2nd, all the circumstantial evidence points to her 
and to her only; 3rd, long after these two points were determined, 
Robert Volkmann, the fine musician and composer, in conversation 
with the author, mentioned a local tradition at Pesth which 
directly names her as having been once the beloved and even 
(if our memory serve) the bride in spe of Beethoven. This lady 
was the Countess Therese von Brunswick. 

The scattered notices of the Brunswicks in these volumes, 
if taken connectedly, may appear of deeper significance than has 
been suspected. They were of the earliest and warmest friends 
of Beethoven in Vienna; they "adored him," said their cousin, 
the Countess Gallenberg; Beethoven wrote the song "Ich denke 
dein" in the album of the sisters and dedicated it to them when 
he published it in 1805; he received from Therese her ])ortrait 
in oil;- visited the Brunswicks in the autumn of 1806 and composed 
the Sonata, Op. 57, which he dedicated to the brother; and imme- 
diately after his departure wrote the passionate love-letter, — to 
whom.^ — wrote to Count Franz, "Kiss your sister Therese," and 
in the autumn of 1809, wliile on another visit to tJiem, comjiosod 
the Sonata, Op. 78, dedicated to the sister. A few months later 
the marriage project fell through. 

Two remarks may be noted here which, if of no great impor- 
tance, are worth the space they will occupy: 1st. After I lie 

'These conrlndinj; remarks, from cliai)t(Ts \' and \ I of \ Dl. HI of llie first (ierinan 
edition, are broiiKlit in here to complete tiie author's pulilie utteraiiees on the siil>ject 
of the identity of the "Immortal Heloveil." Thayer is discussing; tlie failure of Heet- 
hoven's marriage jjroject. 

'Amongst Heethovcn's postlmmous effects was found a portrait in nil hy .1. 15. 
von Lampi with the following inscription on tiie hack of the frame: 

To the Unique CJenius 
To the (ireat Artist 

To the Cood Man (I)em selfencn ficnic. I)i-m grossen 

from T. IJ. Kllnsthr, Drmgiilcn Mcnschen) 

This picture went from the possession of the widow of Heethovcn's ni-i)hcw Karl into 
that of (;corg Hcilmeshcrgcr Sr. in IHfU and was presented hy liis gran<lson to the 
heethovcn-IlauH Vinin in Monn, where it is now preserved. It is, in all pmhahility, 
tlie portrait of wlii<li Meethoven sjieaks in a |i-ller to Count Frnti/, von llrunswick. 
dated July 11. IHll: "Since I rlo not know how llie porlrail f( II into your hands, it 
would be best were you to bring it with yon; an amiable artist will no <loulil be f.tund 
who will copy it for the sake of friendship." Hesides the porlrail of the (■r)untes9 
Therese there was also a mc-dallif)n picture of the Countess (Hiiccinrdi amongst the 
effects left by Beethoven. It was i<|entified as such by her son, who died in ISO.'}. (Sec 
Breuning, "Ausdem Schwarzspanierhausc," p. lil.) 



336 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

appearance of the dedication of Op. 78, Therese von Brunswick's 
name disappears from all papers, notes and memoranda concerning 
Beethoven collected by Jahn or the author; yet the friendship 
between him and the brother remained undisturbed. 2nd. This 
friendship of thirty years' duration was broken only by death; yet, 
although in the later years long periods of separation were frequent, 
their known epistolary correspondence is comprised in some half 
dozen letters, and the half of these with false dates. Were these 
all.'* If not, why should all, except just these which are neither 
of particular interest nor importance, have been destroyed or 
concealed .f* Unless, indeed, there was a secret to be preserved. 
Therese von Brunswick lived to a great age, having the reputation 
of a noble and generous but eccentric character. In regard to 
Beethoven, so far as is known, she, like Shakespeare's Cardinal, 
*'died and made no sign." Because she could not.'*^ 

* * 

(Postscript by the Editor of the English Edition.) 

There are other candidates than the Countesses Guicciardi 
and Brunswick for the honor of having been the object of what, 
it must be admitted, was Beethoven's supreme love; — or, at least, 
there are other women for whom writers have put in pleas. 
Though Dr. Kalischer professed to believe that he had effectually 
disposed of the Thayer hypothesis, it is significant that by far 
the most notable champions who fought for their respective lady- 
loves are those who entered the lists for the Countess Therese. 
I mention only the American Thayer; the Englishman Grove; the 
Germans La Mara, Storck, and Prelinger (like Kalischer, the 
editor of a collection of Beethoven's letters); the Frenchmen 

iRiemann in his revision of Vol. II of this biography says, "The statement in the 
second and third volumes of the first edition were based on the belief that the serious 
marriage project of Beethoven which led him to ask Wegeler to get for him [a tran- 
script of] his baptismal certificate, but which fell through soon after, must needs be 
connected with the person to whom the love-letter was addressed. But since it has 
been determined by a careful study of dementi's letters that Beethoven's offer of 
marriage, in 1810, most certainly referred to Therese von Malfatti, who, however, as 
we shall see, cannot be considered in connection with the love-letter, this combination 
is become untenable. A large number of Beethoven's letters must be assigned to 
entirely different years, because dementi's correspondence with his partner Coilard 
makes it certain that the honorarium for the works sold in 1807 was not paid out till 
the spring of 1810. The relations of Beethoven to Therese Malfatti are thus transferred 
from 1807 to 1809-1810, and it can no longer be maintained that 1810 was the year 
in which Beethoven's prospect of a marriage with Therese Brunswick came to an end." 
This means that Dr. Riemann believes that while a man of 38 years of age would not 
write a love-letter like Beethoven's to a girl of less than 14 years he would try to marry 
her when he was 40 and she a trifle under 16. 



Dr. Kalischer's Defence of Schindler 337 

Rolland and Chantavoine, both biographers of Beethoven. 
Schindler, Nohl and Kalischer carried the sleeve of the Countess 
Guicciardi; Frimmel and Volbach seemed gently inclined to 
Magdalena Willmann, the actress who said that Beethoven wanted 
to marry her but she would not have him because he was so ugly 
and "half crazy"; Dr. Wolfgang A. Thomas-San-Galli is the 
champion of Amalia Sebald as the "Immortal Beloved" and of 
1812 as the year in which the love-letter was written. Of his 
book ("Die Unsterbliche Geliebte Beethovens, Amalia Sebald," 
Halle, 1909) it may be said that its merit lies in its close, pertinent 
and dispassionate reasoning — the quality in which all of Dr. 
Kalischer's arguments are most deficient. 

Schindler's story touching the letter and Giulietta Guicciardi 
was unquestioned for thirty years, when doubt was cast upon it 
by Thayer's investigations, which fixed the date as 1806 and 
thereby eliminated the Countess as the composer's inamorata. 
In Vol. II, Thayer contented himself with a demonstration that 
the Countess could not be the "Immortal Beloved." In Vol. Ill, 
in the body of the book, he suggested that in "greatest probability" 
the lady was the Countess Therese von Brunswick. It does not 
appear that he ever went further than this, but he died, in 1897, 
in full conviction that by no possibility could the Guicciardi be 
rehabilitated in the place she had so long occupied in the minds of 
historians and romancers. His first contribution to the question 
(the first portion of this chapter) immediately called forth a 
defence of Schindler's story. Dr. Alfred Christian Kalischer being 
in the van of Schindler's defenders. Instead of traversing the 
evidence in the case as Thayer had done, Kalischer proi)osed 
and followed the "inductive method" thus: Beethoven could not 
have indulged in such transports at as late a date as 180G or 1807. 
They were the outpourings of a sentimentalist, one of tlic 
Werther sort. Beetlioven had said in the letter that he could 
only live wholly with })is love or not at all — an expression not to 
be thought of in connection with a genius who had created the 
"Eroica" symphony, "Fidelio," the Sonatas in D minor and F 
minor (Op. 57), the Pianoforte Concertos in C minor and G major, 
the Quartets. Of). 59, had finished tlie fourth Syinpliony and 
sketfhed the C minor and the "Pastoral" could such a genius 
believe for a moment that lie could not live without the object 
of his love? etc. The whole argument was merely rhetoric and 
psychologically speculative. 

In a criticism of Thayer's third volume, written for "Der 
Clavierlehrer" in 1879, Kalischer took uj) the subject of Therese 



338 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Brunswick and, pursuing his old style of argumentation, urged 
that the "Immortal Beloved" was Giulietta and not Therese 
because, forsooth, Beethoven had dedicated the C-sharp minor 
Sonata to the former and nothing better than the Sonata in F- 
sharp major, Op. 78, composed in 1809, to the latter. Kalischer 
saw no force in the fact that sketches for the so-called "Moonlight" 
Sonata antedated the dedication by a considerable period; the 
essential things in his mind were the dedication and that Lenz 
thought highly of the C-sharp minor and little of the Fantasia 
for Pianoforte, Op. 77, dedicated by Beethoven "to his friend" 
Brunswick, and still less of the F-sharp Sonata dedicated to 
"another member of the house of Brunswick"; and that while 
Marx had described the C-sharp minor Sonata as "the low hymn 
of love's renunciation" he did not consider the F-sharp major 
Sonata as worthy even of mention. 

These essays, together with another in which Dr. Kalischer 
performed with great energy the work of disposing of the romantic 
vaporings of a writer who called herself Mariam Tenger, who 
had published a book ("Beethoven's Unsterbliche Geliebte, nach 
personlichen Erinnerungen") at Bonn in 1890, in which she affected 
to prove what Thayer had set down as merely a probability. This 
waiter (who had most obviously taken her cue from Thayer, 
though she protested that she had not read his biography when 
she wrote her book) professed to have had the tale from the lips 
of the Countess Brunswick herself, that Beethoven, while visiting 
at Martonvasar, the country-seat of the Brunswicks, in May, 
1806, had become secretly engaged to the Countess, no one else 
knowing the fact except Beethoven's friend Count Franz von 
Brunswick. Dr. Kalischer found little difficulty in demolishing 
a large portion of the fantastic fabric reared by Mariam Tenger, 
especially that portion w^iich professed to rest upon the alleged 
testimony of a "Baron Spaun" who was plainly a creation of 
the romancer's, though a veritable Spaun did figure, largely and 
creditably, in the life-history of Schubert. Not content with this 
the critic went further, and reviewing the sentimental career of 
Beethoven from 1806 to 1810 (in which latter year it is supposed 
the relations between him and the Countess Brunswick came to 
an end), he protested that, in 1807, Beethoven was in love with 
Therese Malfatti, then a girl of 14 years. 

That question had already been discussed by Thayer, as we 
have seen. So also had the identity of Baron Spaun by Marie 
Lipsius, known in musical literature by her pen-name La Mara, 
who called attention to inaccuracies in the Tenger story in the first 



La Mara and the Countess Therese 339 

of a collection of essays entitled "Classisches und Romantisches 
aus der Tonwelt," published in Leipsic in 1891. The same 
author ^Yho, in all her writings on the subject, has stoutly main- 
tained the correctness of Thayer's theory, made the most valuable 
contribution yet offered to the controversy by her book, "Beet- 
hoven's Unsterbliche Geliebte. Das Geheimniss der Grafin 
Brunsvick und ihre Memoiren," published by Breitkopf and 
Hartel in 1909. To this book it is necessary to pay rather extended 
attention; but before its contents are passed in review it deserves 
to be noted that Thayer, who followed the multitude of arguments 
for and against his hypothesis with the greatest interest and with a 
characteristically open mind, went down to his grave with his 
strong conviction unshaken that "in greatest probability" the 
Countess Therese was the "Immortal Beloved," To La INIara he 
sent a letter dated January 22, 189*^, to which attention was 
called in a foot-note on the history of the C-sharp minor Sonata 
in an earlier chapter of this work, and whicli, through the 
courtesy of the lady to whom it was addressed, is now given in 
substance: 

.... That Mr. Kalischer has adopted Ludwig Nohl's strange notion of 
Beethoven's infatuation for Therese Malfatti, a girl of fourteen years, 
surprises me; as also that he seems to consider the Cis moll Sonata to 
be a musical love poem addressed to Julia Guicciardi. He ought cer- 
tainly to know that the subject of that Sonata was, or rather that it 
was suggested by, Seume's little poem "Die Beterin." 

I pray you to stop here and read before proeeeding the first j)art 
of the Lieheshrief. Note well that it was written from a Badcort so 
far away from Vienna that he journeyed thither in a coach with four 
horses and Esterhazy with eight. And now to tlie essential points. 

During the summer of 1801, W(; know that Heclliovcii lo(l<,'e(l in 
Hetzendorf — where ex-Kurfiirst Franz resided and died July '^(i, that 
year — and composed his "Christus am Olherg" in great part in the near 
Schonbrunn garden. We know that he wrotc^ on .Iniu' ^2\), a very full 
account of his increasing d(>afness to Dr. Wegeh'r. Was he, only seven 
days later, in a distant lUidcorl, writing .v(/r/t a love-let N-r to a yi)ung 
Grafin not yet seventeen years old? In November Ik; again wrote; to 
Wegeler. "Du willst wissen," he says, "wic; es mir gehl. was idi braiuhe," 
and proceeds to descrihe his j)hysician's treatment. In neither of tluvsc 
letters is there the remotest liint that tlu; doctor sent him to a distant 
Badeort. \\\ lH0'-2, lieethoven's summ<r lod^'ing was in Ileili^'ensladt 
vvliere youru^ liies came often f o re<-ei\<! his inastf-r's instructions. There 
is not the slightest intimation from him, nor anywhere else, of any ahsrnce 
of Beethoven during that siwnmcr. Did Beethoven write flic Lirhes- 
briefe \n July and the so-called TestanxTit — that (lociimi-nt of despair -in 
October.^ Ohservc these dates. In the Llfhr.shrirfr from the Badmrl 
July G: "Ich kam erst Morgens 4 I'hr geslern hier an." Seven days 
later, July 18, he was in Vienna writing to Breitkopf and Hiirtel! 



340 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

In the Testament we read: "Dieses halbe Jahr was ich auf dem 
Lande zubrachte," but in no known letter or writing of Beethoven's 
of that summer is there any reference to the distant Badeort. 

All that is known of Beethoven in the summer of 1801 and 1802, is 
against the journey to the Badeort; what is known of the summer of 1806 
is for it. The burden of proof lies upon Mr. Kalischer. When he can 
prove such a journey in 1801 or 1802, and does so, it will be one point 
in his favor. 

The method pursued by La Mara in her investigation, which 
extended over several years, was much like that of Thayer: in 
every case in which it seemed that testimony might be had from 
the mouths of living persons she sought to obtain it. First she 
visited the Countess Marie Brunswick (or Brunsvik, as the Hun- 
garian branch of the Braunschweigers, or Brunswicks, spelled the 
.name) , daughter of Count Franz. There was an interview followed 
by a correspondence. The Countess said that the family knew 
nothing whatever of the alleged romantic attachment between her 
aunt and Beethoven. She recalled that Beethoven had a "grosse 
Schwarmerei" for her father's cousin, the Countess Guicciardi, 
afterwards Gallenberg, but the feeling was not reciprocated on 
the part of the Countess so far as had been learned. The family 
was still in possession of three or four letters from Beethoven to 
her father. In November, 1899, she sent four letters to La Mara 
which were then owned by her brother. Count Geza Brunswick. 
Three of these letters had already been printed in the first edition 
of this biography. The only one bearing on the subject of this 
study was that in which Beethoven begs the Count to kiss his 
sister Therese. (This letter La Mara presents in facsimile in 
her book.) Count Gallenberg (son of the Countess Giulietta and 
the last of the family) had died in Vienna in 1893, two years 
after he had denied that there had been any talk of marriage 
or mutual love between his mother and Beethoven. The testimony 
of two grand-children of the Countess Giulietta was asked. "Beet- 
hoven wanted to marry grandmamma," said the Countess Bertha 
Kuenburg, nee Countess Stolberg-Stolberg, in Salzburg, "but she 
loved Gallenberg." Baroness Hess-Diller, nee Countess Gallen- 
berg, in Baden said: 

Among our family papers there is absolutely nothing bearing on 
the matter — no letters, no diary. The prejudices of the period, the 
incredible point of view held by persons of our station towards artists, even 
towards artists of Beethoven's greatness, may have been responsible for 
the fact that no interest was felt in the matter. All that verbal tradition 
has brought down to me is summed up in the one circumstance that 
Beethoven figured only as a music-teacher in the house of my great- 
grand-parents. 



Testimony of Friends and Rel.\tions 341 

On the suggestion of the grand-children of the Countess 
Giulietta, La Mara called on Fraulein Karoline Languider, a life- 
long friend of the Gallenbergs, who had lived with them and the 
Countess Marie Brunswick. This witness testified: 

I do not believe that the Schwdrmerei for Countess Julia Gallen- 
berg-Guicciardi — though it may have been warm and wonderful, for 
she was a very beautiful, elegant woman of the world — ever took such 
possession of the heart of Beethoven as did the later love for Countess 
Therese Brunsvick, which led to an engagement. That was deci- 
dedly his profoundest love, and that it did not result in marriage, it is 
said, was due to the — what shall I call it? — real artistic temperament 
(Natur) of Beethoven, who, in spite of his great love, could not make 
up his mind to get married. It is said that Countess Therese took it 
greatly to heart. Having lived during my childhood with my parents 
in Pressburg, I often heard — with childish ears, of course — persons speak 
about the matter, and am able to remember that Countess Therese was 
greatly beloved, and that my mother was always very glad when she 
came to Pressburg, which was every year. 

La Mara having sent Fraulein Languider some of her writings 
and a copy of Lampi's portrait of the Countess Therese, she wrote 
on January 24, 1901: "After all that has been said pro and contra 
I remain of the unalterable opinion that the Countess Therese 
was the 'Immortal Beloved' and fiancee of the great master, 
concerning which fact I heard innumerable conversations in my 
childhood, and that the portrait is hers. Countess Marie does not 
see a resemblance, but I do not trust her memory." Countess 
Marie Brunswick had said to La Mara that she did not consider 
the painting which is now preserved in the Beethovenhaus in 
Bonn a portrait of her aunt; "but," says La Mara, "since tliere 
was a difference of 57 years, she could no longer judge of a likeness 
with the youthful picture." 

Count Geza Brunswick, son of Beetlioven's friend, died in 
the spring of 1902, having outlived his sister Marie. TJk' direct 
line of Brunswicks reached its end in him. The castles Korompa 
and Martonvasar passed into oilier hands. Count Franz's art 
collection was sold at auction in \'i(niia, but the widow of Count 
Geza retained possession of the Be('t]u)vcii relics (the letters and 
an oil y)ortrait) and took them with her to Florence, where sub- 
sequently .she married t)ie Marehe.se Cai)i)oni. She, too, gave 
her testimony: "It is certain that there were .soul-relationships 
between Beethoven and Therese Brunsvik." 

Next, La Mara went to Pressburg (in .search of such traditions 
as Thayer had found in Pesth), working on tin- hint thrown out 
by Fraulein Languider. In Pressburg .she met Johaiin Batka, 



342 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

municipal archivist, who bore testimony to the fact that a relative 
of the Countess Therese Brunswick, who was in possession of her 
memoirs (a copy, evidently, since La Mara obtained the original 
from the family of Count Deym), had persuaded him to believe 
that Therese was the "Immortal Beloved" and secret fiancee of 
Beethoven. After La Mara had published the results of her 
investigation in the January number for 1908 of the "Neue Rund- 
schau," the grand-niece of Countess Therese, Isabella, Countess 
Deym, and her sister Madame Ilka Melichar, confirmed the 
statement that the letter had been addressed to their illustrious 
grand-aunt. An estrangement had sprung up between Count 
Franz and his sister Therese after his marriage; but the intimacy 
between the sisters Therese and Josephine, Countess Deym, had 
continued, and the romance, never known to the families of Count 
Franz and his sister Countess Teleky, had come down as a tradition 
in the family of Count Deym. 

The rest of La Mara's book is filled with the memoirs of 
Therese Brunswick, which she began writing in September, 1846, 
and called "My Half-Century." In introducing the interesting 
document, La Mara thought herself compelled to abandon Thayer's 
contention that the love-letter had been written in 1806, and sub- 
stituted 1807 (a date urged also by Ladislaw Jachinecki, in an 
article published in the "Zeitschrift der Internationalen Musik- 
gesellschaft" for July and August, 1908), on the ground that 1806 
had become untenable, 1807 agreed with the almanac and that 
Beethoven's sojourn at Baden in the summer of 1807 did not pre- 
clude a visit to Hungary of three weeks' duration between the 
end of June and July 26, La Mara was persuaded to make the 
change by her discovery in the memoirs of the fact that on July 5, 
1806, Countess Therese was in Transylvania visiting her sister 
Charlotte, Countess Teleky, and was present when the latter 
gave birth to a daughter, Blanca, on that date. Having assumed, 
with Thayer, that Beethoven wrote the love-letter very soon 
after a visit to the Brunswicks at Korompa (which is her reading 
of the mysterious "K" in the letter), and sent it from a neighboring 
watering-place, convinced that Therese was with her sister on 
July 6, 1806, she adopted the theory that the letter was written 
in 1807, in which year the much-discussed 6th of July fell on a 
Monday. She also alludes to other evidence which she does not 
describe but by which she doubtless means a letter by Beethoven to 
Breitkopf and Hartel dated "Vienna, July 5, 1806," which became 
known to the investigators when the well-known publishers of 
Leipsic made a private publication of the letters from the composer 



New Suggestions Concerning the Letter 343 

found in their archives. This was after the death of Mr. Thayer. 
Touching this letter and the significance of Beethoven's "K" the 
writer of this note submits, without argument, a few suggestions: 

1. There is nothing in the letter, beyond what might be 
called its atmosphere, to indicate that Beethoven had recently 
visited the object of his love. The words "To-daj^ — yesterday — • 
what tearful longings for you," to which such an interpretation 
might be given, plainly refer only to his mood and his thoughts 
on the two days when the letter was in his mind; they tell us 
nothing about the distance or time which lay between him and 
his "feme Geliebte." 

2. It is plain that Beethoven and Prince Esterhazy started 
from the same place for the Hungarian watering-place whence the 
letter was sent (if it ever was sent), Beethoven travelling by an 
unusual route because of a lack of horses, the Prince by the usual 
route. It is anything but likely that this place was Marton- 
vasar; it is much more probable that it was one of Esterhazy 's 
country-seats. 

3. There is no indication in the letter or anywhere else how 
long Beethoven was en route, but the journey extended over 
several stages, for "at the stage before the last" he was warned 
not to travel at night, etc. He may have been as far in the 
interior of Hungary as a post-coach could carry him in, let us say, 
two days. 

4. We know nothing about the rapidity of travel over Hun- 
garian roads a century ago, but we do know that as earl^'^ as 103.5, 
i. e., 171 years before Beethoven made tlie journey, an English |)()st 
was established which ma<le the trij) from London to Ediiiburgli 
and h)ack in six days; and Edinburgh is 3.57 miles from London 
by road. The English mail-coach, therefore travelled an average 
of 119 miles in 24 hours. At even half of this speed Beethoven 
might have been comparatively near the place in wJiich Countess 
Therese sjx-nt June and July, IHOO. 

5. This place was not Korompa, but may liave been 
Klausenburg or Kolosz, the priiicip;il town of Tr;uisylv;iiiia, 
where (Jount 'lY'leky lived. 'J'his is at Icist remotely j)ossil)le. 

6. It is but n.itural to assume that the j)ost between tlie 
important places of Hungary and the metropolis of Transylvania 
ran fairly often and at fair speed, ami if Beethoven <"xperted th.it 
a letter whieh he thought would bedetain<'(l at the j)lare wjiere it 
was posted till early on Thursday morning would not reach its 
destination till Saturday, that destiruif ion must have been at a 
considerable distance (a two days' runj from tjie watering-place. 



344 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

"So near, so far!" has little value as evidence; it is an ecstatic 
commonplace concerning the unattainable, or that which seems 
to be so. 

7. The fact that the Countess Therese was not at Korompa 
in the early part of July, 1806, is not in itself a sufficient reason for 
abandoning that date; she was at Klausenburg. The letter to 
Breitkopf and Hartel, though plainly dated ''Vienna, July 5, 1806" 
(Kalischer, No. 109), might easily be disposed of as convincing 
evidence against 1806, if it did not bear the publishers' endorsement 
apparently indicating that it had either been received or answered 
on July 11 of the year. Nothing could make Beethoven's care- 
lessness in respect of dates plainer than the next letter of Beet- 
hoven's in which he replied to the letter which Breitkopf and 
Hartel had sent him in answer to the proposition which he had 
made in the letter dated July 5, 1806. The second letter is dated 
*'Gratz, am 3ten Heu-Monat," (i.e., Hay month, otherwise July) ; 
yet it refers to the earlier letter and was written at Troppau in 
Austrian Silesia, where Beethoven spent the fall of 1806 as the 
guest of Prince Lichnowsky, Breitkopf and Hartel's endorsement 
shows that the letter was received and answered in September. 
There is some significance, too, in the fact that Beethoven refers 
to his journey from Vienna to Troppau, which must have been 
nearly 200 miles long, as a short one ("Etwas viel zu thun und die 
kleine Reise hierher," etc.). (See Kalischer, Letter No. 110.) Beet- 
hoven may have written the letter in Vienna on one of the first 
two days of July, or even the last of June, making one of his 
characteristic blunders in the dating, and yet have been deep in 
Hungary on the dubious date on which he wrote the love-letter. 
The endorsement of Breitkopf and Hartel, "July 5, 1806," could 
not have been anything more than a transcript of the date found 
on the letter. 

The editor is well aware that his suggestions do not clear up 
the mystery; he offers them nevertheless for what they are now 
or may hereafter be worth. The references to Beethoven in the 
Memoirs of Therese Brunswick made public by La Mara are to 
be found in the following excerpts: 

During the extraordinary sojourn of 18 days in Vienna my mother 
desired that her two daughters, Therese and Josephine, receive Beet- 
hoven's invaluable instruction in music. Adalbert Rosti, a schoolmate 
of my brother's, assured us that Beethoven would not be persuaded to 
accept a mere invitation; but if Her Excellency were willing to climb 
the three flights of winding stairs of the house in St. Peter's Place, and 
make him a visit, he would vouch for a successful outcome of the mission. 
It was done. Like a schoolgirl, with Beethoven's Sonatas for Violin and 



The Memoirs of Therese von Brunswick 345 

Violoncello and Pianoforte under my arm, we entered. The immortal, 
dear Louis van Beethoven was very friendly and as polite as he could be. 
After a few phrases de part et d'autre, he sat me down at his pianoforte, 
which was out of tune, and I began at once to sing the violin and the 
'cello parts and played right well. This delighted him so much that he 
promised to come every day to the Hotel zum Erzherzog Carl — then 
Goldenen Greifen. It was May in the last year of the last century. He 
came regularly, but instead of an hour frequently staid from 1-2 to -t or 5 
o'clock, and never grew weary of holding down and bending my fingers, 
which I had been taught to lift high and hold straight. The noble man 

must have been satisfied, for he never missed a single day in the 16 

It was then that the most intimate and cordial friendship was closely 
established with Beethoven, a friendship which lasted to the end of his 
life. He came to Ofen; he came to Martonvasar; he was initiated into 
our social republic of chosen people. A round spot was planted with 
high, noble lindens; each tree had the name of a meml)er, and even in 
their sorrowful absence we conversed with their symbols, and were enter- 
tained and instructed by them. Often after giving the good-morning 
greeting I asked the tree concerning this and the other thing which I 
desired to have explained, and it never failed to answer me. 

Later, speaking of the loss of caste and poverty of her i)rother- 
in-law Count Deym (who had changed his name to ]\Iiiller lu'cause 
of a duel fought before he had attained his majority, and contlucted 
an art museum, and who after his marriage to Therese's sister 
Josephine tried in vain to take the position in society to which his 
rank entitled him), the Countess writes: 

The aristocracy turned its back on him because he had gone 
into business. He could not hunt up his former rich acquaintances. 
Beethoven was the faithful visitor at the house of the young Counte.ss — 
he gave her lessons gratis and to be tolerated one had to be a Heetlioven. 
The numerous relatives, the sisters of her father and their cliildren, 
frequently visited their amial^le niece. Tableaux were occasionally 
given; Deym, being himself an artist, was at home in such inafters, 
they gave him pleasure. . . . There were musical soiret's. My brother 
came in vacation-time and made the actjuaintance of Beethoven. The 
two musical geniuses became intimately associated with each other, 
and my l>r<)ther n<'ver deserted his friend in his frequent financial tronbles 
until his, alas! too early death. 

It was about this time (IHl !•) that Baron ('. P. came very ofl.ti to 
Martonvasar. He was fond of my brother and waiit«'(l to learn the 
science of agrienltnre from him and his men. We played chess with 
each other; he c:oneeived a |)assi<)n for me ami tried to embrae*' me. 
From that moment onward he frequently repeated his offers and waited 
two years for my assent — for I always answen-d that I should lia\e to 
ponder the matter and had had no lime to do so. I had remained cold, 
an earlier passion had devoured my heart. Josei)hine needed me, her 
childr<'n, who were very prf)mising, loved me atid I them — how (-ould I 
withdraw myself from sueli a magic eirele? When I was active with 
the Women's Association after the great famine of LSI!), we met on the 



346 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

street. I was in a carriage and had the coachman stop at a signal from 
him. He came to the carriage and said significantly, "Have you pondered, 
dear Therese.'* it is the last time I shall ask you. I am going to Dresden 
and shall there take a bride unless you make up your mind." I laugh- 
ingly gave him my old answer, heart and head being occupied with the 
widespread misery: "I really haven't had time, dear Carl." We parted 
— he became my enemy. 

Shortly after the appearance of La Mara's essay in 1909, a 
singular contribution to the controversy touching the "Immortal 
Beloved" came from France. The essay had been reviewed in 
the "Revue des Deux Mondes," whereupon the editor of "Le 
Temps" asked one of its contributors to make inquiry as to possible 
family traditions of the mother of M. F. de Gerando, a grand- 
niece of the Countess Therese. This was done, but the lady 
would hear nothing of an identification of her grand-aunt with 
the object of Beethoven's passion. Then came journalistic insinu- 
ations that family pride had much to do with the denial. This 
provoked M. de Gerando, who undertook, in the "Mercure de 
France," to answer the arguments of Thayer and La Mara. There 
was one ludicrous feature in his argument and a new revelation. 
He disposed of the kiss sent to Therese by Beethoven through 
her brother Count Franz, by saying it was only such a familiarity 
as an old man might be permitted to indulge towards a young 
pupil; this notwithstanding that Therese was born in 1775 and 
Beethoven in 1770 and at the time he wrote the love-letter was still 
laboring under the delusion that the year of his birth was 1772. 
The revelation consisted in the circumstance, set forth by him, 
that among the letters of the Countess Therese he had found a 
thick portfolio inscribed "The Journal of my Heart. No Romance," 
which (I quote now from an article contributed by Mr. Philip 
Hale to the "New Music Review," in the numbers for July and 
September, 1909) 

contained many letters, notes, messages written at all hours, and ad- 
dressed to a man, whose Christian name was Louis. Mr. de Gerando, 
who has been unable to learn the family name of this man, thought at 
first, and naturally, that Beethoven was the one; but this Louis, with 
whom Therese was passionately in love, to whom she was betrothed, 
without the knowledge of others, was a young man of noble family, 
much younger than Therese, and had been educated at the Theresianum 
in Vienna, a school frequented by young noblemen. "Van Beethoven 
was older than the Countess Brunsvik. He was not noble by birth. 
He never attended the Theresianum." The letters reveal a strange 
and violent passion. They are at times cold and philosophical. When 
Therese signed them with her name, they were true love-letters. When 
she signed them with the Greek word "Diotima," the name of a priestess 



Recent Investigations in France 347 

of beauty and love mentioned by Plato, they were metaphysical specu- 
lations, long-winded discussions on the end of life and the nature of 
love. "I do not think that Beethoven would have been contented with 
this correspondence of encyclopaedists." There were a few letters from 
Louis, one of them sealed with a coat of arras, and thus there is hope 
of identification. 

One might answer, continues Mr. Hale, that Therese perhaps loved 
twice; that there were two Louis in the field. Mr. de Gerando does 
not find this probable. Therese was cerebral in her passion. She knew 
passion, but her intellectual side revolted at it, and, when her brain 
controlled her, she could write phrases like this: *'To think that I could 
have lowered myself even to the point of marrying him!" (But, one 
might reply, the countess might well have said this with reference to 
Beethoven, who was beneath her in station.) She rained contempt on 
the man who had awakened in her the love that she detested, and when 
she had driven him from her mind, she wrote exultantly: "Free! Free! 
Free!" Mr. de Gerando argues from this that she would not a second 
time have given up her independence, but nothing that a woman like 
Therese would have done should surprise even a great-grand-nephew. 

Mr. de Gerando does not understand how any love affair between 
Therese and Beethoven could have escaped the curious gossips in society, 
eager for news and scandal. "The adventure of Therese de Brunsvik 
with Louis appears to me to be a sufficient reason to judge the tiicory 
of Thayer inane. At the same time it explains to us the genesis of this 
theory. It is now certain, as far as I am concerned, that some resem- 
blance of the affair between the Countess of Brunsvik and Louis had 
come down to Thayer. The similarity of the names, the letter in which 
the kiss was sent, and other and more vague indices, led the American 
biographer to turn the noble Hungarian dame into the 'well-beloved' of 
Beethoven." Such was, in substance, the article of Mr. de Gerando. 
It is fair to ask him how the love affair between Therese and tli»^ 
mysterious Louis, young, noble, etc., escaped the curious gossips, escaped 
them so completely that even the great-grand-nej)liew of Therese is 
unable to find out the family name of her lover. 



Chapter XXII 



The Year 1802— The Heihgenstadt Will— Beethoven's Views 
on Arrangements — A Defence of Beethoven's Brothers — 
The Slanders of Romancers and Unscrupulous Biogra- 
phers — Compositions and Publications of the Year. 

THE impatient Beethoven, vexed at the tardy improvement 
of his health under the treatment of Vering, made that change 

of physicians contemplated in his letter to Wegeler. This was 
done some time in the winter 1801-1802, and is all the foundation 
there is for Schindler's story of "a serious illness in the first months 
of this year for which he was treated by the highly esteemed physi- 
cian Dr. Schmidt." The remarkable list of compositions and publi- 
cations belonging to this year is proof sufficient that he suffered 
no physical disability of such a nature as seriously to interrupt 
his ordinary vocations; as is also the utter silence of Ries, 
Breuning, Czerny, Dolezalek and Beethoven himself. The 
tone of the letters written at the time is also significant on 
this point. 

Concerning the failure of his project to follow the example 
set in 1800 and give a concert towards the close of the winter in 
the theatre we learn all we know from a letter from his brother 
Carl to Breitkopf and Hartel dated April 22, 1802. Therein 
we read: 

My brother would himself have written to you, but he is ill-disposed 
towards everything because the Director of the Theatre, Baron von 
Braun, who, as is known, is a stupid and rude fellow, refused him the 
use of the Theatre for his concert and gave it to other really mediocre 
artists; and I believe it must vex him greatly to see himself so unworthily 
treated, particularly as the Baron has no cause and my brother has 
dedicated several works to his wife. 

When one looks down from the Kahlenberg towards Vienna 
in the bright, sweet springtime, the interesting country is almost 
worthy of Tennyson's description: 

[ 348] 



Beethoven at Heiligexstadt 349 

It lies 
Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard-lawns 
And bowery hollows, crown'd with summer sea. 

Conspicuous are the villages, Dbbling, hard by the city 
Nussdorfer line, and Heiligenstadt, divided from Dobling by 
a ridge of higher land in a deep gorge. 

Dr. Schmidt, having enjoined upon Beethoven to spare his 
hearing as much as possible, he removed for the summer to the 
place last named. There is much and good reason to believe 
that his rooms were in a large peasant house still standing, on 
the elevated plain beyond the village on the road to Nussdorf, 
now with many neat cottages near, but then probably quite 
solitary. In those years, there was from his windows an unbroken 
view across fields, the Danube and the Marchfeld, to the Car- 
pathian mountains that line the horizon. A few minutes' walk 
citywards brought him to the baths of Heiligenstadt; or, in the 
opposite direction, to the secluded valley in which at another 
period he composed the "Pastoral" symphony. The vast increase 
of Vienna and its environs in population, has caused corresponding 
changes; but in 1802, that peasant house seems to have offered 
him everything he could desire; fresh air, sun, green fields, delight- 
ful walks, bathing, easy access to his physician, and yet a degree 
of solitude which now is not easy to conceive as having been 
attainable so near the capital. 

Part of a letter written hence to Breitkopf and Iliirlcl, but 
no longer in the possession of that house, affords another illustra- 
tion of Beethoven's excellent common sense and discrimination 
in all that pertained to his art. 

.... Concerninf? arran^'cments I am heartily ^'lad that yon rrjortod 
them. The unnatural raf,'c now prevalent to transjjlant even /Hdnafortt' 
pieces to strin^'ed instruments, instruments so utterly opposite to each 
other in all respects, ouf^ht to come to an end. I insist stoutly that only 
Mozart could arran^'C his |)ianoforte pieces for other iustrnnicnts— and 
Ilaydn — and, without wishing to ptit myself in the class (»f these ^reat 
men, I also assert it touching? my pianoforte .sonatas too, since not only 
are whole passages to l)e omitted and changed, l)ut also— things are to be 
added, and here lies the obstacle, to overcome which one nuisL eillu-r be 
the master himself or at least have the same skill and inreniivc power— 
I transcribed a single one of my sonatas for string (piartet.' yi<-l(ling to 
great i)ersnasion. and I c«TfaiiiIy know that it would not be an easy 
matter for another to do as well. 

•The Sonata in E, Op. 14, No. 1, tran.spo8cd to F major, wan pntilished in lft02. Sec 
W. Altmann, "Ein vergessenes Strcirtiquartett Beethovens,"' "Die Muxik," 1905. 



350 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The difficulties here mentioned, it will be noticed, are those 
of transcribing pianoforte music for other instruments; the con- 
trary operation is so comparatively easy, that Beethoven very 
rarely performed it himself, but left it for the most part to young 
musicians, whose work he revised and corrected. 

There are a great many pieces by Beethoven (says Ries), published 
with the designation: Arrange par VAuteur meme; but only four of 
these are genuine, namely: from his famous Septet he arranged first 
a violin quintet, and then a Pianoforte Trio; out of his Pianoforte Quintet 
(with four wind-instruments) he made a Pianoforte Quartet with three 
string-instruments; finally, he arranged the Violin' Concerto which is 
dedicated to Stephan von Breuning (Op. 61) as a Pianoforte Concerto. 
Many other pieces were arranged by me, revised by Beethoven, and 
then sold as Beethoven's by his brother Caspar. 

Without calling in question here the general statement in 
this citation, it may be remarked, that if Ries is right in respect 
to the arrangement of the Septet as a Quintet, the work remained 
in manuscript, for the one published was by Hoffmeister. But 
the Trio was begun and, as is believed, finished this year. Its 
history has been told. Ries's statement is neither exhaustive nor 
altogether exact touching the arrangements of the Septet. More- 
over, in 1806, without Beethoven's knowledge or consent, he 
arranged the six Quartets, Op. 18, and the three Trios for strings. 
Op. 9, as Pianoforte Trios. 

An interesting anecdote from the "Notizen" may be intro- 
duced here. "Count Browne," says Ries, 

made a rather long sojourn about this time in Baden near Vienna, where 
I was called upon frequently to play Beethoven's music evenings in the 
presence of enthusiastic Beethovenians, sometimes from notes, some- 
times by heart. Here I had an opportunity to learn how in the majority of 
cases a name alone is sufficient to characterize everything in a compo- 
sition as beautiful and excellent, or mediocre and bad. One day, weary 
of playing without notes, I improvised a march without a thought as to 
its merit or any ulterior purpose. An old countess who actually tor- 
mented Beethoven with her devotion, went into ecstasies over it, think- 
ing it was a new composition of his, which I, in order to make sport of 
her and the other enthusiasts, affirmed only too quickly. Unhappily 
Beethoven came to Baden the next day. He had scarcely entered 
Count Browne's room in the evening when the old countess began to 
speak of the most admirable and glorious march. Imagine my embar- 
rassment! Knowing well that Beethoven could not tolerate the old 
countess, I hurriedly drew him aside and whispered to him that I had 
merely meant to make sport of her foolishness. To my good fortune 
he accepted the explanation in good part, but my embarrassment grew 
when I was called upon to repeat the march, which turned out worse 
since Beethoven stood at my side. He was overwhelmed with praise 



MeLu\ncholy Influen'ce of Heiligenstadt 351 

on all hands and his genius lauded, he listening in a perturbed manner 
and with growing rage until he found relief in a roar of laughter. 
Later he remarked to me: "You see, my dear Ries, those are the great 
cognoscenti, who wish to judge every composition so correctly and 
severely. Only give them the name of their favorite; they will need 
nothing more." Yet the march led to one good result: Count Browne 
immediately commissioned Beethoven to compose three Marches for 
Pianoforte, four hands. ^ 

The seclusion of Heiligenstadt was of itself so seductive to 
Beethoven, that the prudence of Dr. Schmidt in advising him to 
withdraw so much from society, may be doubted; the more, 
because the benefit to his hearing proved to be small or none. 
It gave him too many lonely hours in which to brood over his 
calamity; it enabled him still to flatter himself that his secret was 
yet safe; it led him to defer, too long for his peace of mind, the 
bitter moment of confession; and consequently to deprive himself 
needlessly of the tender comp assionand ready sympal hy^of 
frien^sT^whose^Tips were sealed so long as he withheld his con- 
fidence. But, in truth, the secret so jealously guarded was 
already known — but who could inform him of it? — though not 
long nor generally, as we learn from Ries. 

It was well for Beethoven, when the time came for him to 
return to the city, and to resume the duties and obligations of 
his profession. To what depths of despondency he sometimes 
sank in those solitary hours at Heiligenstadt, is shown by a re- 
markable and most touching paper, written there just before his 
return to town, but never seen by other eyes until afttT his death. 
Although addressed to and intended for both liis broUicrs, it is, as 
Scliindler Jias remarked, "surj)rising and singular," that the name 
"Johann" is left utterly blank throughout — not even being indi- 
cated by the usual. ... It is couched in terms of energetic expres- 
sion, rising occasionally to eIo(iuence — somewhat rude and un- 
j)olished ind<'«'d, but, perJiaf)s, for tliat reason tJie more striking. 
The manuscript^ is so carefully written, and disfigured by so few 

'Those dedicated to Princess Esterhazy, Op. 4.5. 

'This TcstariKiif or rmmi'moria, writti-ii on a larjjc foolscap sheet, appears to have 
\ti-i-i\ cli.scovercd in a mass of loose papers piinliascd hy llie elder Arliiria af the sale 
of Meethoven's effects in IHitl. Kridursed iiixm it is an ai ktxiwle.ljfemeiil. sixind hy 
Jacob Hotschevar, the guardian (after HreiiiiiiiK's dejilh) of llie coiiipoNer's nephew, 
of having? received it from .Arlaria & ("o. Then f<»ll<»\vs a similar a« knowle.ljjement 
of its reception hy .lohann van Ueethoven. Its next poss<-ssor appears to have been 
.Alois Ftiihs — the great colle<tor nf musical nianiiseripls ami aiifojfraphs of mnsieinns. 
In IS-^.?, it was piirchaserl hy Krrist. the violiiiitt fnf wiiom is not ktiowii.'j, whr> presenteii 
it to Mr. Otto arifi Madame .Jinny I.ind Ouldsehmidt as a testimony of j;ratiliide for 
their vahialile